Last Monday, a report from the Vatican shook founding church principles to the core regarding family practices. Touching on marriage, divorce, contraception and cohabitation, the report was a summary on discussions held between 200 bishops, cardinals and priests, including Pope Francis, officially called the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family.
What really garnered the attention of the press was the Church’s radical stance on gay and lesbian relationships. The original report stated, “Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community,” and begged members of the church “Are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities?”
The initial report generated backlash from conservative Catholics which lead to a follow up disclaimer stating that the original message was merely a draft that needed revising. A final statement will be issued Friday summarizing the week long discussions held at ESBF. Regardless, changes must be made in the Catholic Church if they hope to survive.
According to the National Catholic Report, all major denominations including Catholic, Muslim and Protestant have been faced with a decline in members. Christians have been breaking away from the Catholic Church for centuries now forming their own denominations such as Orthodox and Lutheran amongst others in rejection of outdated interpretations.
Even today we see postive effects of a fresh look at the Bible. If we were to still take it literally, we would still be instructing women not to teach (1 Timothy 2:12), exercise authority over men (1 Corinthians 14:34, 35) and to remain silent in the church (1 Timothy 2:9, 10).
Slowly however, women have refused to accept the rules placed on them by society, government and church, thus forcing these institutions to change their ways, just as homosexuals are doing today. Updating views on thousand year old scripture might be just what the Catholic Church needs to bring back its followers.
As of Oct. 16, 2014, 30 states in the U.S allow and accept same-sex marriage. Fifteen countries worldwide allow gay men and lesbians to marry, eight of which have made the change in the past three years according to a Pew Research report published in 2013. Change is happening, whether the church recognizes it or not.
While we’re not suggesting the Church reconstruct principles it was founded on, an openness to homosexuals is something The Duke is supportive of. When Friday comes, one can only hope the church will not only stand by their previous statements but move forward with them, just as the rest of society has.