Pope Francis on Sunday told an assembly
of bishops at the Vatican who scrapped language welcoming gays to the
Roman Catholic faith not to fear change.
Last week, the church released a
groundbreaking draft report which asked Catholics to consider
acceptance of gays. Conservatives criticized the move and the
bishops responded by watering down the language.
The new version replaced the title
“Welcoming homosexuals” with “Providing for homosexual persons”
and altered a reference to gay unions as constituting “precious
support in the life of the partners” to constituting “valuable
support in the life of these persons.”
According to the AP, the revised
language did not receive the two-thirds majority needed to pass.
At a ceremony where he beatified the
late Pope Paul VI, which took place at the conclusion of the bishops'
assembly, Pope Francis, who wants to modernize the church, told the
thousands gathered inside St. Peter's Square that the church has to
adapt as society changes: “By carefully surveying the signs of the
times we are making every effort to adapt our ways and methods to the
growing needs of our times and the changing conditions of society.”
“God is not afraid of new things.
That is why he is continually surprising us, opening our hearts and
guiding us in unexpected ways,” he added.
In an unusual move, Francis insisted
that the paragraphs that failed to pass be included in the full
document along with the voting tally, allowing the conversation to
continue. Bishops will meet next October to produce a final report.