Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, made one of the most controversial interventions so far in the Synod of Bishops meeting in Rome when he said that LGBTQ language should not be used in the final document of the Synod.
Pope Francis inaugurated the Synod on young people last Wednesday. He appealed for a Church that hopes and dreams while warning against a temptation to focus on “abstract ideologies” detached from the realities of young people.
“There are no LGBTQ or heterosexual Catholics”
In what are considered to be very controversial comments Chaput harshly criticised the possibility of the inclusion of the term “LGBT” in the Synod’s final document.
“There is no such thing as an ‘LGBTQ Catholic’ or a ‘transgender Catholic’ or a ‘heterosexual Catholic,’ as if our sexual appetites defined who we are; as if these designations described discrete communities of differing but equal integrity within the real ecclesial community, the body of Jesus Christ. This has never been true in the life of the Church, and is not true now.”
“It follows that “LGBTQ” and similar language should not be used in Church documents, because using it suggests that these are real, autonomous groups, and the Church simply doesn’t categorize people that way,” he argued.
Archbishop Chaput said that clergy sex abuse “is precisely a result of the self-indulgence and confusion introduced into the Church in my lifetime.”
Sex Abuse: shameful deeds
Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney, Australia, delivered what observers described as the Synod’s strongest address so far condemning sex abuse by clergy.
He addressed young people participating in the Synod.
“For the shameful deeds of some priests, religious and lay people, perpetrated upon you or other young people just like you, and the terrible damage that has done: I apologize” entreated Fisher.
“And for the failure of too many bishops and others to respond appropriately when abuse was identified, and to do all in their power to keep you safe: I apologize,” he continued.
His address continued through a litany of other apologies, for the failings of the Church’s schools and parishes to pass on the faith, the distance or lack of joy from Church leaders, and for “unbeautiful or unwelcoming liturgies,” among others.
“It is a both a crime and a sin”, said Bishop Frank Caggiano of Bridgeport of sex abuse. He added that his abuse “has undermined the confidence and trust that young people must have in the Church’s leaders and the Church as an institution, so that they may again trust their priests and bishops to exercise true spiritual fatherhood, serve as adult figures in their lives and as authentic mentors of faith.”
The theme of the 15th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops is“Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment.” Besides the 266 bishops, attending and contributing to the Synod, there will be some 300 persons between the ages of 16 and 29. For the first time there are two bishops from mainland China.