MOSCOW, October 14 (RIA Novosti), Ekaterina Blinova - A new Vatican document released on Monday, October 13, stated that the Roman Catholic Church should "welcome" homosexuals, stressing that gays have "gifts and qualities to offer" the Christian population.
"Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer the Christian community: are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a further space in our communities? Often they wish to encounter a Church that offers them a welcoming home. Are our communities capable of proving that, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?" questioned the document, as quoted by Reuters.
While Roman Catholic gay rights groups have praised the statement, calling the paper a "breakthrough", conservative Catholics are inclined to consider Vatican's "relatio" a "betrayal of traditional family values," the media outlet underscores.
Although no doctrinal changes have yet been announced by the Roman Catholic Church, author and journalist John Thavis has characterized Vatican's statement as an "earthquake," the Telegraph reports.
Rev James Martin, a Jesuit author said, as cited by the media source: "This is a stunning change in the way the Catholic Church speaks of gay people."The synod is clearly listening to the complex, real-life experiences of Catholics around the world and seeking to address them with mercy, as Jesus did."
However, Time Magazine's Elizabeth Dias argues that people are deluding themselves viewing the "relatio" as "a big shift."
"The relatio is not a proscriptive text. It is not a decree. It is not doctrine, and certainly not a doctrinal shift. It is also not final," she writes in an article "What the Vatican Really Said About Homosexuality." "To "welcome gays" does not mean the Church is no longer equating "gay" with "sin," she added.
Meanwhile, the Vatican's new document has triggered fierce debate and a wave of protest among the conservative Catholics globally.
"Those who are controlling the synod have betrayed Catholic parents worldwide. We believe that the synod's midway report is one of the worst official documents drafted in Church history. Catholic families are clinging to Christ's teaching on marriage and chastity by their fingertips," said John Smeaton, co-founder of Voice of the Family, a Catholic laity international project, as cited by the Telegraph.
The Archbishop of Westminster insists that the synod was dedicated to "pastoral care" for all believers, regardless of sexual orientation. In an interview with the Telegraph he stressed that he did not think the document, released by the Vatican, approves of same sex unions or same sex marriage.