Over the past few weeks, we have been supplying you with links to news articles and opinions pieces about the synod. We’ve covered, general responses, international items, Catholic commentators, and today, for the final installment, we provide you with a list of links to reactions from bishops, Anglican leaders, and from religious and secular news commentators:
1. MLive.com reported that Bishop Paul Bradley of Kalamzoo, Michigan, thought the draft relatio’s comment on “gifts and qualities” of lesbian and gay people was “a beautiful way to say just because a person or a couple are not living in complete harmony with the church in a moral way people are called to live, that does not negate that there’s any good in them.”
2. The Tampa Bay Times carried comments from St. Petersburg’s Bishop Robert Lynch, who said that the synod was “an important moment of honesty and collegiality.” He also noted that his diocese “wants to see us welcome members of the gay and lesbian community.”
3. The Christian Post reported that New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan called synod discussion on gay and lesbian people an “evolution,” not a “revolution.” Dolan also compared Pope Francis to Jesus, saying that the pope “never ceases to surprise us. Just when you think you might have him figured out, he offers another fresh innovative way of looking, that talk to which you just referred at the close of the synod was nothing less than inspirational. He spoke from the heart. He spoke about himself as the Pope and the church and he challenged all of us. And it reminds me of Jesus. Always walking down the road, and never forgetting the people on either side.”
4. Gay Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson penned an essay for The Daily Beast in which he praised Pope Francis’ compassionate leadership, yet he also noted: “. . . [T]he Roman Catholic Church is a large ship to turn around on such matters, even with such a kindly and well-intentioned captain at the helm. He has to contend with much more conservative bishops, archbishops, and cardinals appointed by his two immediate predecessors. And like the President of the United States, he must work with an entrenched bureaucracy that was in place long before his arrival and will still be in place long after his departure.”
5. In a Telegraph column, John Bingham quotes Bishop Paul Butler, an Anglican observer at the synod, noting that the British bishop felt that Vatican officials at the synod exhibited a “lack of awareness” of real life in their opposition to a more welcoming approach to gay and lesbian people. Butler said: “The Rome-based Cardinals seemed more concerned to ensure the doctrine is maintained. There seemed a lack of awareness of what it is really like in the parishes in remote villages and mega-cities.”
6. In a Malta Today blog post, Mario Gerarda, founder of Drachma, Malta’s LGBT Catholic organization, stated that one of the greatest contributions of the synod was the opening up of a needed discussion: “Elements within the Catholic Church have been debating this issue for quite a while, but I think it’s crucial that the higher echelons of the Church hierarchy are finally putting this issue at the forefront of their agenda.”
7. National Catholic Reporter columnist Jamie Manson criticized the synod (and Church government, generally) for not taking women’s perspectives seriously. Her criticism also went further: “Add to that the unseemly, if not deeply pathological, reality that a significant number of these bishops, who cannot decide whether gays and lesbians have gifts to offer to the church, are themselves closeted gay men.”
8. Guardian commentator David Marr criticized the synod and its too-optimistic supporters because nothing about church teaching on homosexuality actually changed because of the meeting: “I am still bound for hell. Nothing the bishops discussed in Rome over the past few weeks will save me and my kind from damnation. They considered some soft rhetoric but never questioned that sex between men must remain a grave sin.”
9. International Business Times reporter Zoe Mintz collected a sampling of online comments about the synod in an article entitled “Majority Of Catholics Support Gays And Lesbians: LGBT Community Reacts To Synod Report Online.”
10. MSNBC’s Nick Ramsey looks at “The ‘silver lining’ to the Vatican’s backslide on LGBTQ issues” by evaluating comments from Catholic writers.
11. New York’s Daily News columnist Mike Lupica assesses the synod positively in an essay entitled “Pope Francis’ talk on gays moves Catholic Church into modern era — and out of 17th century.”
12. According to Dot429.com writer Matt Northrup, the synod may not have produced a positive final report for LGBT people, but the meeting’s process holds promise for future progress: “The revisions to these documents underscore LGBT Catholics’ continuing lack of power, but the ways in which the Church is now conducting these meetings may pave the way for progress.”
13. CNN.com’s John Sutter says that if synod participants are serious about welcoming lesbian and gay people, there are “3 ways the Catholic church should embrace gay rights” : 1) Make a serious push for LGBT rights in Africa; 2) Embrace same-sex marriage; 3) Stop the firings of gay teachers.
14. Ron and Mavis Pirola, the Australian couple who were the first people to mention gay issues at the synod, gave a video interview to Eureka Street, a Jesuit publication. Ron explained that although gay partnerships are against Church teaching, “the fundamental thing, the default position, is always the love of the person.” Mavis said that one of the points they were trying to make about the story of their friends’ acceptance of a gay son and his partner was that “the wider Church can learn from the lived experience of family life, which is complex, but there’s so much love in families.”
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry