The Vatican has reasserted its long-held opposition to same-sex marriage, as well as the adoption of children by gay couples.
But the new document, Instrumentum Laboris — the result of Pope Francis' call for bishops around the world to discuss family issues — also says discrimination against gay couples should be avoided and that their children must be cared for without bias, the Christian Post reports.
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"On unions of persons of the same sex, the responses of the bishops' conferences refer to Church teaching. 'There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God's plan for marriage and family." the document, released last week, maintains.
[...] Nonetheless, according to the teaching of the Church, men and women with homosexual tendencies 'must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided'."
Thursday the document also reports the findings of a Vatican survey sent to bishops around the world late last year in advance of a Vatican assembly on the family in October.
According to the survey, "every bishops' conference voiced opposition to ‘redefining' marriage between a man and a woman through the introduction of legislation permitting a union between two people of the same sex," the reports said.
According to reporting by the Christian Post, "The episcopal conferences amply demonstrate that they are trying to find a balance between the Church's teaching on the family and a respectful, non-judgmental attitude towards people living in such unions," the document adds.
The bishops also were "clearly opposed to legislation which would allow the adoption of children by persons in a same-sex union, because they see a risk to the integral good of the child, who has the right to have a mother and father," the Christian Post reported.
But when the couple wants their child baptized, that child must be "received with the same care, tenderness and concern which is given to other children," the bishops urged.
The Human Rights Campaign described the new document an attempt by the Vatican to "embrace a new, welcoming tone needed towards LGBT people," CNS reported.
But CNS reported that Equally Blessed, a group that describes itself as "faithful Catholics committed to full equality for LGBT people in the church and civil society," said it was "disappointed by the lack of listening evidenced in the report…"
"We hoped that this Synod signified a new openness in the Church to truly dialogue," the group said, CNS reported.
"The Bishops once again claim that the problem is not that their teachings clash with the Biblical teaching of love, but that Catholics are unaware of the teachings. Catholics are not unaware, rather they have long struggled with these teachings, and ultimately reject them as inconsistent with the Gospel."
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