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Cardinal calls on Catholics to 'welcome, respect and value' gay people

Tue 21 Oct 2014
By Joy Tibbs

The leader of Catholics in England and Wales doesn't think the recent Vatican Synod report went far enough in welcoming homosexuals, he has said.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols told Premier he wasn't "satisfied" with either the proposed or final wording on how the Church should treat gay people and that it "wasn't good enough".

Bishops at the family synod in Rome rejected the initial report wording which said: "Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community...Are our communities capable of this, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?"

Instead they opted for a paragraph which said: "Men and women with homosexual tendencies should be accepted with respect and sensitivity. Any sign of unjust discrimination in their regard is to be avoided."

Cardinal Nichols said he 'dithered' on which way to vote on the paragraph because it didn't meet his expectations.

He told Premier: "I think the words that we're looking for are words of welcome, respect and value for the dignity of every person.

"The dignity both as a human being and as a disciple of Christ.

"The dignity of the person is central to pastoral care."

The Cardinal added that it was possible that the more welcoming paragraph was rejected by the synod because others also agreed that it didn't go far enough.

He said that the Church had to recognise the goodness in people's lives even if "aspects of their situation are not fully in what we understand to be the will of Christ".

Asked whether he thought the synod could change its mind on the wider acceptance of gay people at its next meeting, the Cardinal said "none of this is off the table".

The synod meets again next October.

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