VATICAN CITY — The closing of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family was celebrated in a Mass for thousands, led by Pope Francis in the Vatican City on Sunday.
It followed the release of the official record of the synod, or Relatio Synodi, which was approved paragraph by paragraph by the assembled bishops on Saturday, with three of the 62 paragraphs failing to get the necessary votes. Though most synods don't generate much news, a draft version of the report released last week ignited a firestorm when a section under the heading “Welcoming Homosexuals,” said, “homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer the Christian community,” and asked if the community was capable of welcoming people with such “tendencies.”
The new version “significantly backtracks on LGBT issues from the draft released earlier this week,” according to Francis DeBernardo, executive director of Maryland-based Catholic gay rights group New Ways Ministry.
“It's very disappointing that the synod's final report did not retain the gracious welcome to lesbian and gay people that the draft of the report included,” DeBernardo wrote. “Instead, the bishops have taken a narrow view of pastoral care by defining it simply as opposition to marriage for same-gender couples.”