WASHINGTON –– The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, today criticized the decision by the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops to eliminate language that was inclusive and supportive of LGBT Catholics from the conference’s final report.
"Once more members of the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church have erred on the side of hypocrisy and fear," said Lisbeth Meléndez Rivera, HRC Foundation's Director of Latino/a and Catholic Initiatives. “The deeply entrenched anti-LGBT forces within the Church prevailed, ignoring Pope Francis’ message of inclusion and respect, and fundamentally rejecting the voices and lives of LGBT Catholics.”
A preliminary version of the report, which was made public just days ago, asserted that LGBT people have “gifts and talents to offer the Christian community,” and, for the first time, referred to LGBT couples as “partners” instead of sinners. The interim report also stated that while the Church did not view gay unions as on the “same footing as matrimony between a man and a woman,” it went on to say that "[w]ithout denying the moral problems connected to homosexual unions it has to be noted that there are cases in which mutual aid to the point of sacrifice constitutes a precious support in the life of the partners." That language was not included in the final report released today, an indication that those provisions failed to garner the two-thirds support of those who were eligible to vote on the document.
This disappointing setback comes at a time when many in the U.S. Catholic hierarchy continue to use heartless and derogatory language in referring to the LGBT faithful, while Pope Francis encourages a more compassionate approach.
"While we are extremely disappointed that the Bishops were unable to be moved away from doctrinal purity and into pastoral care for LGBT people, as suggested by Pope Francis, we remain hopeful that as a working document, this report will be once more amended in our favor at next year's Synod,” Rivera continued. “We were always aware this was the beginning of a discussion, not the end. We will continue to pray for our brothers, the Bishops, to listen to our prayers, and to discern deeply about the exclusionary nature of this document based on the outdated idea that God spoke their final words a millennia ago.”
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
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