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Rome Correspondent: Vatican Synod Angering Conservatives

By    |   Tuesday, 14 Oct 2014 06:06 PM

The Vatican assembly on social issues convened by Pope Francis has made no changes to Catholic doctrine, but in asking aloud how to be less confrontational on subjects such as homosexuality, it has infuriated conservative church leaders, says Newsmax Rome correspondent Edward Pentin.

A document released on Monday during the Synod of Bishops — which continues through Sunday — was an informal, thinking-out-loud exercise, but some high-ranking Catholics felt it said too little in defense of church doctrine, Pentin told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV Tuesday.

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"This is the danger, and this is why you had some really strong criticisms coming out, and people in the church are furious," said Pentin. "Cardinal Raymond Burke is very angry about it because he sees it — and many see it — as an undermining of the church's teaching, because you're giving a mixed message."

The document states that homosexuals "have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community," an observation that one Vatican expert called an "earthquake," given the church's traditional view of homosexuality as sinful.

Pentin said the document, and the synod, are a product of this pope's desire to have the church be more attuned to family and interpersonal relationships as they're lived today.

"What they're trying to tell the world … is there's been a change of tone and a change of emphasis," said Pentin.

"What the world has often heard is the church condemning homosexuals and homosexual practice," he said. "That hasn't really changed. But they're trying to re-emphasize the fact that these are people who need to be listened to and have the dignity of being respected."

Pentin noted that Vatican officials, perhaps mindful of the furor, came forward on Tuesday with a reminder that church doctrine on matters of sin remains unchanged.

But there's no missing the impact of Pope Francis.

"He's been described by many people as a reformer and someone who is radical," said Pentin. "We've seen that develop during his pontificate in the past year and a half. … He is certainly of a progressive slant, and he does want to reach out to Catholics and non-Catholics and try to convey the church's teachings in a way that it hasn't [attempted] before."

The new emphasis is not sitting well with all Catholics, some fearful that changes in ministry motivated by a desire to seem more approachable will undermine the church's authority.

"The Pope has said he wants a debate and to put all this out in the open, and see how can the church really change and modernize and become listened to more in society," said Pentin. "That's his general approach. Those who oppose that are worried because it can make it seem as if the church doesn't know what it's about."

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The Vatican assembly on social issues convened by Pope Francis has made no changes to Catholic doctrine, but in asking aloud how to be less confrontational on subjects such as homosexuality, it has infuriated conservative church leaders, says Newsmax Rome correspondent Edward Pentin.
vatican, synod, gays
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2014-06-14
Tuesday, 14 Oct 2014 06:06 PM
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