Pope Francis initiated a significant meeting Wednesday concerning the future of the Catholic Church, where divisive topics are on the table.
The three-week General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops at the Vatican, sometimes referred to as the Catholic Church’s Super Bowl, has gathered bishops globally to discuss pressing issues.
These include the potential for priests to marry, whether divorced and remarried Catholics should partake in communion, the possibility of women becoming deacons, and the church’s approach to LGBTQ matters.
Catholic Church Debates Future: Pope Francis Shifts on LGBTQ
Even before its commencement, this year’s synod was already groundbreaking: For the first time, women and laypeople have been granted voting rights, though 80% of participants remain bishops, and thus, male.
However, the most startling revelation came earlier this week when Francis paved the way for the potential blessing of same-sex unions by Catholic priests.
His remarks, released Monday, were nuanced: Francis emphasized that such blessings shouldn’t equate same-sex unions to the sanctity of heterosexual marriage. Yet, up to this point, the church’s stance was that same-sex unions couldn’t be blessed because “God cannot bless sin.”
In his statements, responding to cardinals seeking clarity on the church’s position, Francis stated: “we cannot be judges who only deny, reject, and exclude.”
LGBTQ organizations greeted the shift in tone warmly, while church conservatives criticized Francis, accusing him of muddying Catholic doctrine and causing confusion.
With information from CBS News