In a document released Monday, the Vatican expressed reforming approaches towards divorce, homosexuality, and premarital sex. The release follows a gathering of Church leaders in the Vatican, the third of its kind -- the announcement is the first public move indicating shifting views on sensitive issues within the Catholic Church.
The report signals a light approach to the LGBT community, saying "Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community, are our communities capable of providing [a welcoming home], accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?" The Church prohibits same-sex marriage, but the report indicates the Vatican’s desire to create a more welcoming home is a sign of changing perspective compared to past Church declarations condemning homosexuality. The report also signals new attitudes regarding divorce, saying that "What needs to be respected above all is the suffering of those who have endured separation and divorce unjustly." The report does not initiate a call to change Church doctrine.
How will changing attitudes in the Vatican impact modern Catholicism? What does the new report mean about the Church doctrine?
Jason Berry, GlobalPost religion writer who has been following the Synod. He is the author of “Render unto Rome: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church” (Broadway Books, 2012).