The document, which has only been released in Italian, criticizes unspecified “international organizations” that “condition financial aid to poor countries to the introduction of laws that establish ‘marriage’ between people of the same sex.”
“It is completely unacceptable that pastors of the church suffer pressure in this matter,” it reads.
The statements are contained within a document titled “The Vatican and the Mission of the Family in the Church and the Contemporary World” on which the bishops will vote in October during a three-week synod.
The document states there is “no basis whatsoever to assimilate or establish analogies, even remote, between homosexual unions and God’s plan for marriage and the family.” It goes on to say that those “with homosexual tendencies must be accepted with respect and sensitivity.”
“Each person, regardless of their sexual tendency, must be respected in their dignity and met with sensitivity and delicacy, both in the church and in society,” reads the document. “It would be desirable that diocesan pastoral plans reserve special attention to the accompaniment of families in which a homosexual person lives.”
The document reflects the Vatican’s more moderate tone towards gays and lesbians since Pope Francis became pontiff in 2013. It also reaffirms the church’s vocal opposition to marriage rights for same-sex couples.
Esteban Paulón, president of the LGBT Federation of Argentina, on Tuesday blasted Francis.
The advocate in a statement noted the Argentine-born pontiff — former Buenos Aires Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio — described the South American country’s same-sex marriage law that took effect in 2010 as a “war against God.”
“Francis once again shows that he is still Bergoglio, that of the ‘war against God’ against marriage equality,” said Paulón. “Today’s statement clearly casts doubt that the church would stop obsessing on topics such as sexuality when he (became pope.)”
New Ways Ministry, an LGBT-friendly Catholic group based in Prince George’s County, Maryland, and other organizations also criticized the statements contained within the draft document.
“We strongly regret the inclusion of the unfounded statement that international organizations are pressuring poorer countries to introduce same-sex marriage as a condition of receiving financial aid,” said the groups in a statement. “Far better for the church to show its commitment to social justice through the condemnation of global criminalization of LGBT people, including torture and the death penalty.”