Despite Pope Francis' controversial media comments, the Vatican is reportedly holding a traditional line on hot-button issues including birth control, divorce and remarriage, and homosexuality.
A 78-page Vatican document
written in Italian and released Monday lays outs positions ahead of an October bishops' meeting on the family, restating previously adopted positions on many divisive issues, according to the National Catholic Reporter.
For example, the Vatican reaffirmed its prohibition on the use of birth control, didn't offer any new options for Catholics banned from taking Communion if they're divorced or remarried – and gave little attention at all to the issue of outreach to homosexuals, according to NCR.
"While we want the synod to help renew the church's pastoral outreach to families, we don't anticipate change in church dogmas," Antoine Renard, the French president of the European Federation of Catholic Family Associations, told NCR.
"But there are clearly significant divisions over the synod already – we can expect a battle when it eventually convenes."
Pope Francis has stirred controversy
with moves to shift focus away from some issues that've alienated modern Catholics – like same-sex marriage and abortion – and toward issues of poverty, inequality and social justice – and even climate change.
One "Catholic LGBT activist" was bitterly disappointed with the new document, International Business Times reports.
The newly released document hasn't reflected "any of this positive movement which is in the air," Francis DeBernardo, the executive director of New Ways Ministry, a "Catholic LGBT advocacy" group, tells IBTimes.
"Bishops' conferences have noted that their nations' Catholics have responded critically to the official negative attitude toward lesbian and gay people," DeBernardo added. "None of this is reflected in the document."
Worse, the document shows a "stunning ignorance" with its use of the term "homosexual tendencies" to characterize sexual orientation, DeBernardo charges.
"For church leaders to continue to use 'homosexual tendencies,' which seems to connote impermanence as well as simply a controllable desire to act and not a personality trait, reveals a stunning ignorance of the topic, as well as a disrespectful attitude towards lesbian and gay people," he tells IBTimes.
The October synod of bishops is the second of two on family issues called by the Pope; the newly released document is viewed as a barometer of how the conference will unfold, IBTimes reports.
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