Bishops water down wording on gays and divorcees | News | DW | 18.10.2014
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Bishops water down wording on gays and divorcees

Catholic bishops have ended their two-week Vatican synod still in disarray on gay union and whether divorcees can receive Communion. Their final document scraps more progressive wording in an earlier draft.

Bishops mustered only slim majorities on three chapters dealing with gay unions and remarried divorcees on Saturday as they ended their special meeting on family issues called by the progressive Pope Francis.

To pass the passages would have required two-third majorities among the some 200 bishops summoned from around the world.

The paragraph dealing with homosexuals ended up being entitled "Pastoral attention toward persons with homosexual orientations" after conservatives had harshly criticized draft wording.

A draft issued last Monday had been entitled "Welcoming homosexuals."

Saturday's 118-62 vote on the gay section's final wording left open the possibility that progressive bishops might have refused to back such a watered-down version.

Marriage doctrine remains

The final version stressed that homosexual union could not be compared to heterosexual marriage, describing the coming together of a man and woman as "God's plan for matrimony and the family."

The earlier version had said same-sex relations offered "precious support."

Pope Francis reportedly called for the full document - including paragraphs that failed to pass - to be published along with the voting tallies.

Saturday's document entitled "relatio" in Latin is to serve as the basis for more debate leading up to a similar meeting in October next year.

Rome's mayor recognizes unions

As if in defiance, Rome's left-wing mayor Ignazio Marino on Saturday carried out a registration ceremony for 16 couples, both men and women.

The ceremony took place in Rome's town hall while bishops completed their synod on the other side of the river Tiber while a few protesters outside held up signs reading, "Stop Marino" and "Transcriptions don't make families."

Rome's prefecture later annulled the registrations, which are illegal under Italian law.

The Catholic diocese of Rome in its Roma Sette weekly review publication accused Mayor Marino of perpetrating an "institutional affront."

ipj/sb (AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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