Is it a new day for the Catholic Church? And if so, will the majority of the world's estimated 1.2 billion Catholics embrace what appears to be a softening stance on gays and unmarried couples living together. The message from the Catholic Church came out of a meeting, requested by Pope Francis, of more than 200 bishops meant to discuss family issues.
A document prepared, as a summary of the first week of the meetings, states that gays have gifts and qualities to offer the Church, and asks the question, “are we capable of welcoming these people.”
It is a decided change of tone and welcomed by some Catholics who see the clear influence of Pope Francis.
Bob Lye, arriving for Mass at St John Cathedral in downtown Cleveland, said of the Pope, “He's trying to find ways to invite people into the Church and to feel welcome even if they're not living in a state that would be consistent with the Church's teachings.”
Quite a few Vatican scholars were stunned but not Rob Musial, a local Catholic, who sees the message as just an extension of the meaning of his Catholic faith, “The Catholic Church is a loving organization that is making the stance that they've always had more clear, that we're all sinners, we're all fallen, we're all in need of God's grace and we should extend the same love to them that we do to everybody else.”
The Church, in the message, strayed from judgmental language and, while certainly not changing Church doctrine, seemingly set a decidedly new course.
Clevelander Dan Elam feels it is about time, “They don't decide to be different. God makes them that way, He makes them and if the Church doesn't back them, who will.”