Sunday, 19 October 2014

Times: Change in bishops' attitude to gays welcomed
Wednesday, October 15, 2014, 14:50

Drachma, the group for gay people and their parents, has welcomed the 'positive developments' in the Catholic Church with regard to gay people as evidenced in the Bishops' Synod, currently meeting in Rome.

It noted that the synod in its document Relatio featured a change in the tone, language and terminology used, possibly reflecting a change in the hierarchy’s attitude towards LGBT persons, their relationships and towards children of same-sex families.

"It is indeed promising that the Relatio refrains from using the usual language of ‘sin’ and ‘intrinsic disorder’ but rather attempts to understand these realities with greater sensitivity and with a genuine respect for LGBTI persons. We appreciate that for the first time, the Church hierarchy is recognising the valuable gifts and qualities that LGBTI people bring to the Church and to the Christian community. The Synod is finally recognising the intrinsic value of the mutual love, self-sacrifice, and care LGBTI persons are able to give in same-sex relationships. It is also positive that the Church finally understands the need of more ‘human’ pastoral ministry with gay persons and their families," Drachma said.

It added that it appreciated the valuable contributions made by Bishop Mario Grech during the Synod.

"We warmly remember the number of heart-to-heart meetings with the Maltese Bishops during this last year. We appreciated that during these meetings, the bishops were keen to listen to the sincere experiences of many gay persons who are struggling to integrate their sexuality and spirituality. They listened to parents of gay persons who also go through considerable suffering.

"We recall Bishop Scicluna’s participation during Drachma’s celebration of the International Day against Homophobia held last May. At the same time, we also acknowledge and appreciate the courageous and humane spirit reverberating so strongly in Mgr Grech’s speech last week. His speech acknowledged the same spirit, compassion and humanity contained in a letter that Drachma Parents presented to the Bishop in February 2014, with suggestions for the Synod.

"We are sure that these meetings with the bishops have been fruitful and will continue to help the Church in Malta become a pioneer in this field, especially by becoming a more welcoming space for gay people. We look forward to an age when all persons, irrespective of their sexual orientation or gender identity, can feel at home in our churches and parishes and are empowered to become more pastorally involved in these same communities," the group said.

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