VATICAN CITY (ChurchMilitant.com) - A controversial paragraph on homosexuality in the final Youth Synod document received the greatest number of negative votes from synod fathers.
Voting on the final document took place paragraph by paragraph on Oct. 27, with each delegate voting yes or no on each of the 167 paragraphs. All paragraphs were adopted by the required two-thirds majority vote, although paragraph 150 received the least number of yes votes: 178 out of 249 total, with 65 voting against.
The paragraph reads in part
[T]he Synod reaffirms that God loves each person and so does the Church, renewing its commitment against all discrimination and violence on the basis of sexuality. It equally reaffirms the determinant anthropological relevance of difference and reciprocity between man and woman and considers it reductive to define the identity of people starting solely by their "sexual orientation" (CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE 50 FAITH, Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the pastoral care of persons homosexuals, October 1, 1986, n. 16).
In many Christian communities there are already paths of accompanying in the faith of homosexuals: the Synod recommends encouraging these paths. In these paths people are helped to read their own story; to adhere with freedom and responsibility to his own baptismal call; to recognize the desire to belong and contribute to the life of the community; to discern the best forms to make it happen. In this way we help each young person, no one excluded, to increasingly integrate the sexual dimension into one's own personality, growing in the quality of relationships and walking towards the gift of self.
"Sexual orientation" is discussed in the context of rejecting the notion of reducing a person to his sexual attraction, citing a 1986 letter from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. According to Vaticanista Edward Pentin, previous drafts had included the phrase three times.
The second part of the paragraph includes vague language on "accompanying" homosexuals, although it fails to delineate what that accompaniment should look like, and also significantly omits any mention of Church teaching on chastity.
The controversial acronymn "LGBT" was included in the original draft, but dropped from the final synod document after pushback primarily from African prelates. It had first appeared in the Instrumentum laboris (pre-synod working document — the first instance in Catholic history that the politically charged phrase has been included in an official Church document). Although the final synod text did not include the phrase LGBT, the introductory paragraphs recognize the need to read the Instrumentum laboris side by side with the final text.
"It is important to clarify the relationship between the Instrumentum laboris and the Final Document," the introductory paragraphs state. "The first is the unitary and synthetic frame of reference that emerged from the two years of listening; the second is the fruit of discernment achieved and gathers the generative thematic nuclei on which the Synod Fathers have concentrated with particular intensity and passion."
"We therefore recognize the diversity and the complementarity of these two texts," it adds.
Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, general secretary of the Youth Synod, is credited with inserting LGBT in the Instrumentum laboris. When challenged on why he included such controversial language, he erroneously claimed he had copied it from a previous pre-synodal text. When it was noted that the acronym did not appear anywhere in the referenced text, Baldisseri dismissed the concern, insisting he would not remove LGBT from the working document.
In spite of the major push from various cardinals, including Chicago's Blase Cupich, to include more welcoming language towards homosexuals, the final document is not seen as a complete victory for the homosexualist agenda, with dissident pro-gay group New Ways Ministry complaining that the document did not go far enough in embracing homosexuality.
"That the synod report would not use the ordinary terms 'lesbian,' 'gay,' 'bisexual' is surprising given the pope's own use of the word 'gay,'" Francis DeBernardo, president of New Ways Ministry, complained. "Such a small gesture in language would have meant a great deal to people."
The article was approvingly tweeted by celebrity Jesuit Fr. James Martin, who called it "a thorough and thoughtful analysis."