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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 12, 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 50
Church should help parents 'stand by' Gay children, Pope says
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Church should help parents 'stand by' Gay children, Pope says

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Pope Francis embarked on the latest round of his on-again-off-again romance with the Gay community with new comments on families with Gay children.

In an interview with La Nacion, a newspaper published in his native Argentina, the Pope recounted behind-the-scenes stories of the Vatican's recent Extraordinary Synod on the Family. The meeting of church officials took place in October, but its draft report - praising some aspects of same-sex relationships - was attacked by conservative cardinals and ultimately failed to get enough votes to be adopted.

'Nobody mentioned homosexual marriage' at the synod, the Pope told La Nacion, because 'it did not cross our minds,' but the synod did discuss the church's relationship to LGBT family members.

'What we did talk about was of how a family with a homosexual child, whether a son or a daughter, goes about educating that child, how the family bears up, how to help that family to deal with that somewhat unusual situation,' Francis said.

'That is to say, the synod addressed the family and the homosexual persons in relation to their families, because we come across this reality all the time in the confessional: a father and a mother whose son or daughter is in that situation. This happened to me several times in Buenos Aires.

'We have to find a way to help that father or that mother to stand by their son or daughter.'

The Pope's remarks were immediately hailed by Lisbeth Melendez Rivera, director of Latino/a and Catholic initiatives for the HRC's Religion and Faith Program.

'These are welcome remarks by Pope Francis, and we hope that the leadership of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is paying attention,' Melendez said.

'Embracing inclusion goes a long way to heal the lives of the many hurt by the destructiveness of church leaders past and present who have encouraged parents to reject their children based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

'There is much to do, but we celebrate these small steps and look forward to more progress in our lifetime. Who we are, what we believe, and who we love should not be undermined by doctrine or dogma.'

Shortly after the Pope's interview was published, the Vatican sent out documents for the next round of talks on problematic families - people living together without being married, people divorced and then remarried, same-sex couples - all relationships that the Catholic Church does not recognize.

A new questionnaire sent to all the Church's bishops urges them to 'let yourselves be guided by the pastoral turning point that the extraordinary synod began to sketch out.'

Bishops should not turn in responses that merely echo established Church doctrine, the Vatican said, or ones that 'start from zero' by ignoring ideas that emerged from the October synod.

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