A leftist element within the Vatican was behind a controversial church document calling for liberal attitudes toward gays, divorce and remarriage, Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, tells Newsmax TV
The liberal bishops who wrote it made a calculated gamble that it would pick up steam when they flagrantly leaked it to the press, Donohue said Tuesday on "The Steve Malzberg Show."
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"It was an interim report . . . written by one to three people out of 265," Donohue said.
"The bishops were not consulted. How did they learn of this interim report? From the media. They leaked it out to the media. The left in the Catholic Church is just like the left in our society. They gambled.
"They thought they were going to create this momentum — everybody has to get on board the progressive train. But the train came to a shrieking halt because the conservatives pushed back."
On Saturday, Catholic bishops — after a two-week meeting called a synod — passed a revised document that spells out the Roman Catholic Church's position on homosexuality, marriage, divorce, and sex.
The document was missing passages from a draft released earlier in the week that had a surprisingly liberal acceptance of gays, unwed Catholics who live together, and remarried divorcees who want to receive Holy Communion.
Several gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender groups praised the earlier document, but some bishops then went public to blast the draft and insist the church was not changing.
"That air that came out of the window got pushed back in. They were resentful not so much about the content, although the wording in some of the stuff was really amazing," Donohue said.
"They talked about homosexuals bringing their gifts. I happen to be straight. I'm not exactly sure what gifts I have. Will it be true that gays have gifts and straights don't have gifts?
"This is psychobabble, and it blew up in their face because the bishops got angry, not so much about the content, but the way it was done, the process. No one was consulted."
Donohue said that by late Friday it was evident that the more liberal document was toast.
"You could tell . . . that this rosy language wasn't going to sell, and the next day was the final report. It's a much more balanced note in the end," he said.
"They were talking about the positive effects of cohabitation, which, as a sociologist, I wanted to be educated by these people because I don't know what they are."
Donohue said there remains a split among top bishops about how the church should move forward on divorce and remarriage.
"There's no question. That's the big split. That's the subject to further study. Over the course of the next year, the next synod, the last one on this issue, is October of 2015," he said.
"When that's done and their final report is given, the Pope will then issue his document, which is a statement based off of it. I'm not sure where the divorce and remarriage is going. They will make some small changes there.
"On the question of gays, yes, of course, gays have the same dignity as straights and they should not be the victim of discrimination, but at the same time, we're talking here about the institution of marriage, which is entirely different from the way a specific individual is treated."
Donohue thinks the church will not waver on marriage.
"They may change in terms of pastoral outreach and be more welcoming and that kind of thing, and that's fine," he said.
"What you'll get next year won't be as liberal as the interim report, where almost nobody was consulted, and it may not be as moderate, with very little changes as you saw in the final document. It'll be somewhere in between."
After the revised document was released, Pope Francis said on Sunday that the Church should not be afraid of change and new challenges.
Francis, who has called for a more merciful church, made his comments to a crowd of 70,000 people in Vatican City's St. Peter's Square.
"God is not afraid of new things. That is why he is continuously surprising us, opening our hearts and guiding us in unexpected ways," the Pope said.
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