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Vatican Document: Value Gay People's 'Gifts and Qualities'

Vatican Document: Value Gay People's 'Gifts and Qualities'

Vatican Document: Value Gay People's 'Gifts and Qualities'

The church should also recognize positive aspects of same-sex relationships, the document says.

In a document that’s being called a breakthrough, the Vatican is saying gay people have “gifts and qualities to offer the Christian community” and that the Roman Catholic Church should recognize the positive aspects of same-sex relationships.

The document, released today, was “prepared after a week of discussions at an assembly of 200 bishops on the family,” Reuters reports. This assembly, the Synod of Bishops, is in its second and final week.

“Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer the Christian community: are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a further space in our communities?” the document reads in part. “Often they wish to encounter a Church that offers them a welcoming home.”

The document further asks: “Are our communities capable of proving that, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?”

On same-sex relationships, while saying the church cannot consider them equal to male-female marriages, it says, “Without denying the moral problems connected to homosexual unions it has to be noted that there are cases in which mutual aid to the point of sacrifice constitutes a precious support in the life of the partners.”

The document is indicative of the more conciliatory attitude toward LGBT people taken by Pope Francis, who was named The Advocate’s Person of the Year for 2013. It will serve as the basis for further discussion this week at the bishops’ synod and at another synod next year.

The document is “a breakthrough in that they acknowledge that [same-sex] unions have an intrinsic goodness and constitute a valuable contribution to wider society and the common good,” said London-based Catholic LGBT rights group QUEST, according to Reuters. The U.S.-based New Ways Ministry, which advocates for LGBT equality in the church, called it a “major step forward.”

Conservative activists, however, denounced the stances taken. “Those who are controlling the synod have betrayed Catholic parents worldwide,” Voice of the Family cofounder John Smeaton told Reuters. He said the document is “one of the worst official documents drafted in church history.”

Check back for updates and reaction.

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Trudy Ring