The discussion document produced by the synod on family issues in the
was not reflective of all the opinions expressed at the gathering of bishops and cardinals,
, director of Christian organisation the Iona Institute
“A lot of people are annoy- ed at the document and what was in it,” Mr Quinn said. “It’s an extremely tentative and provisional document. It does not summarise the opinions of a lot of the participants at the synod,” he said.
“It’s not even close to being the final word. There will be another summary done at the end of the week and I dare say that will be much more reflective of what has actually been discussed,” he said.
A marked shift
In a marked shift in tone, the synod released a preliminary document on Monday calling for the church to welcome and accept gay people, unmarried couples and those who have divorced, as well as the children of these less traditional families.“There is no question that a softer pastoral tone is going to be adopted towards divorce, cohabiting Catholics, towards Catholics who are gay,” Mr Quinn said.
“It is to be welcomed so long as the document is quite clear as to the church’s teaching on these issues. The church has a particular view of the moral life, but there are different ways you can lead people into the moral life. You can do it with a rod or you can do it with soft words. Obviously the Vatican and the pope say the softer approach,” he said.
Chairman of the
Gay and Lesbian Equality Network
said the document suggested a change in the tone of the church’s approach to gay people. “It is a welcome change to hear the Vatican talk about ‘accepting and valuing’ people’s sexual orientation,” he said.
“The Vatican document also recognises that across the world lesbian and gay couples are parenting children and acknowledges that the ‘needs and rights’ of their children should be given, priority,” he said.