Headlines called it a “setback” for Pope Francis that the initial draft of the synod of bishops released last week that spoke of “welcoming homosexual persons” was silent on them in the final document. But I don’t see it that way at all. The pope let the genie out of the bottle. And, as we all know, it’s difficult to put him back in once released.
What the synod did at the outset on paper, Pope Francis has been doing since ascending to the papacy. He’s been talking about gays and lesbians in the Catholic Church with an unheard-of humanity and care. So what that the more conservative bishops succeeded in watering down the gay paragraphs so much they couldn’t get the two-thirds majority necessary to include them in the new document released on Oct. 18. They may have won this battle, but they aren’t going to win the bigger battle with this pope.
I found it interesting that Francis insisted not only on publicizing the vote tallies for each paragraph, but also which paragraphs failed to pass. The pope said he was doing it for transparency. And that’s great. The added benefit to such openness is the signal it sends the entire church. If the pope and the bishops can engage in a rational and respectful discussion about same-sex relationships, so can the rest of the flock. That’s the genie that is out of the bottle.
Continue reading here.