Crux has published an interview with India’s Cardinal Oswald Gracias in which he gives some insights into what the synod’s final report might be saying, based on what he has read in the draft. The following excerpt might be of interest to Bondings 2.0 readers:
“Some media attention has focused on concerns among Church conservatives that while the phrase ‘LGBT’ does not figure in the draft of the final document, language about ‘sexual orientation’ is present that doesn’t result from input from participants in the synod hall.”
In the last few days, it had become increasingly more obvious that the term ‘LGBT’ was too controversial for many of the synod bishops. While some probably sided with Archbishop Charles Chaput’s critique, other reasons have also emerged such as the term not being understandable to non-Western audiences.
While I had hoped that the term would have been used again, as it had been in the synod’s working document, its absence does not negate the value of the synod document entirely (though it does weaken it). In a discussion with other reporters yesterday, I was asked how important it was to have the exact term ‘LGBT’ appear in the text. I answered that those four letter were necessary, but what was crucial is that the document use language that LGBT people use to describe themselves: ‘lesbian,’ ‘gay,’ ‘transgender,’ ‘bisexual,’ ‘gender identity,’ ‘sexual orientation.”
Words like “same-sex attraction,” “gender confusion,” “suffering,” “inclinations,” even “homosexual” clearly do not reflect the community of people that the church supposedly wants to reach. Perhaps these words reflect what some church leaders want to believe about LGBT people, but they are simply inaccurate and offensive.
The fact that “sexual orientation” may be used is a good step. It would be better if they also used “gender identity” to be more inclusive, but from what I have been able to discern, when synod discussions broached LGBT issues, they seem to have been focused more about the “LGB,” but not the “T.”
One theory that I have heard is that if the document does not use the term ‘LGBT,’ its omission will be explained by saying that its original appearance in the synod working document was because that was a term that youth delegates at the synod pre-meeting used. In other words, they will say the use of it was quoting the language of youth, and not signifying a new usage by the Vatican.
Based on Gracias’ peek into the draft and from other messages that I have heard from synod participants, I think that the synod’s final document may contain one of two types of messages about LGBT people.
- “We welcome you and will pastorally accompany you on your spiritual journey.”
- “We welcome you and will pastorally accompany you on your spiritual journey, and we will also call you to conversion [meaning living celibately.”
We’re in the final stretch. We will find out later today what the synod’s report will say.
—Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministsry, October 27, 2018