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Well, this is going to cause all kinds of controversy. According to CNN, a new Vatican report says the church should welcome and appreciate gays, and offers a solution for divorced and remarried Catholics who want to receive Communion.

At a press conference on Monday to present the report, Cardinal Louis Antonio Tagle of the Philippines said Catholic clergy meeting here have largely focused on the impact of poverty, war and immigration on families.

But the newly proposed language on gays and civil marriages represents a “pastoral earthquake,” said one veteran Vatican journalist.

“Regarding homosexuals, it went so far as to pose the question whether the church could accept and value their sexual orientation without compromising Catholic doctrine,” said John Thavis, a former Rome bureau chief for Catholic News Service.

The Rev. James Martin, an author and Jesuit priest, called the report’s language on gays and lesbians “revolutionary.”

“This is a stunning change in the way that the Catholic Church speaks about gay people.”

“The synod said that gay people have ‘gifts and talents to offer the Christian community.’ This is something that even a few years ago would have been unthinkable,” Martin added.

The Catholic Catechism calls homosexual acts “intrinsically disordered” and calls on gays and lesbians to live in chastity. Under Pope Benedict XVI, the church had tried to purge men with “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” from the priesthood.

But Pope Francis, while hewing to Catholic teaching, has signaled a gentler tone, famously saying in 2013 “Who am I to judge?” gays and lesbians.

The report released on Monday, a summary of a week of closed-door discussions of nearly 200 bishops, cardinals and priests, together with Pope Francis, continues that trend. No doctrinal changes have been proposed, however.

The discussions continue this week and a final report will be issued at the end of the week.

The goal of this meeting, officially called the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family, is to present working proposals for a larger meeting to be held next October 2015.

 

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