Is It Good News Or Bad News That The Vatican Is Convening A Special Meeting On Gay Marriage?

Pope_FrancisPope Francis clearly wants to put his mark on the Catholic Church, but what exactly what is that mark? We may get a better sense this fall. The pontiff has just ordered an “extraordinary” session of bishops to gather at the Vatican then to discuss family and relationship issues that include marriage equality.

Whether or not this is a positive development is anyone’s guess.

Among his first acts as pontiff, Pope Francis ordered every diocese in the world to survey Catholics for their attitudes about any number of controversial issues, including marriage equality, contraception and divorce. The gathering of bishops will discuss the results of those surveys. In 2015, they will meet again to formulate policies based on their discussion.

It should be an interesting conversation. In Western Europe and the U.S., Catholics are generally accepting of marriage equality and regularly violate Church teachings on contraception, sex before marriage and divorce. By contrast, in the U.S. in particular, the hierarchy has taken a hard line on all of these issues, and marriage equality most of all. 

That the pope is willing to talk about these issues is probably a shock to a lot of his troops. Philadelphia Bishop Charles Chaput raised eyebrows last year when he seemed to suggest that his boss was a weak sister when it came to gay issues. (Chaput says he was just voicing concerns he had heard from others.) But after decades of ever-tightening policies against LGBT people, Francis’s “who am I to judge?” comments have set off a series of tremors within the Church.

Still, a change of tone isn’t the same as a change of policy. Some observers feel that Pope Francis is trying to move the Church away from harshly punishing (or even shunning) sinners without changing its definition of who a sinner is. (Hint: look in a mirror.) He’s suggested that civil unions might not be a bad idea, if for no other reason than to offer legal protections to couples and their children. That would make Cardinal Dolan’s head explode, but it wouldn’t exactly qualify Francis to be the grand marshal in the Rome Pride Parade.

Maybe live and let live is the best that we can get out of the Vatican. It would unquestionably be an improvement. But would it be good enough? We’ll find out later this year.


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  • vklortho

    How can it be bad news? It’s not like they can get more opposed to marriage equality than they already are.

  • Billy Budd

    If they change their views on marriage equality, I will personally donate my kid nephew for the church, to be molested at their will for the rest of his childhood. I can sign this promise and commitment with my own blood.

  • Mezaien

    @vklortho: HOW CAN IT BE A BAD NEWS?. How you can you even ask that? the Catholic, church will take over gay Marriage, control and make money from “GAY” business! NO IT IS NOT GOOD NEWS.

  • Billy Budd

    @Mezaien: I wouldn’t mind if they began performing marriages for gays. You have to consider the costs and benefits that this would bring to us. This would make them richer and more influential, which is bad, but this would force billions of people to accept the gay lifestyle, since the church dictates what is good and what is bad. There would be no argument anymore. The benefits outweighs the costs. IT WOULD BE GOOD NEWS, YES.

  • hyhybt

    It takes generations to get anything this big changed in the Catholic Church, partly because anyone high enough up to make a change will have got that position because they like things the way they are. But even a change in tone (in either direction) matters, because it affects the range of possibilities for the next turnover.

    It’s like a very tall Plinko board. At each level, the chip usually moves half a slot either right or left; occasionally it may bounce one slot further than that, but that’s pretty much the limit. Only, instead of random chance, at each step down there are people deciding both which direction that half step will be and who will make the decision next time.

  • Harley

    The vatican was designed for gay marriages. The place is a Liberace fever dream.

  • Mezaien

    @Billy Budd: Sweetheart! if you are a Christian, you are in an cult that murderer millions you become a murderer! so Pope Francis. Change you name Mr, Poope Smupe you can`t change your label.

  • Cam

    Sounds like the Vatican realized that they were in danger of becoming in some ways like the GOP is going in America before. You get stricter, and more conservative, and only lash out but never seek to do good etc… And guess what? Your organization shrinks and becomes more orthodox.

    In Former Catholic Strongholds like Ireland the Catholics have lost HUGE percentages of the population. This Pope seems smart enough to realize that in a world where you don’t HAVE to belong to a religion anymore you can’t just have a Pope you attacks others and demand everybody go back in time 60 years. If they don’t want to lose huge numbers as the Mormons currently are, they’ve got to make the Church attractive to people. This is most likely why the last Pope was forced out.

  • Billy Budd

    @Mezaien: I am ENEMY NUMBER 1 of the catholic church. I am a RADICAL ATHEIST. Didn’t you read my other posts about this subject here on Queerty?

    But I repeat: I still believe that it would be a POSITIVE thing if the church began to accept same sex marriages.

  • ouragannyc

    Expect the same BS:
    “compassion for lgbts because they are a broken and sinful specie
    but no to equality and marriage equality”.
    Ain’t nobody got time for dear Francis and his friends.

  • blondeboyz


  • LiamLic

    Misleading headline. It is not a special meeting on gay marriage. It is a meeting of the bishops to discuss a variety of topics related to ‘family’ – same sex marriage is one of many issues which will be addressed.

    I think this is a positive step. The bishops were encouraged to reach out and survey people (Catholics, former Catholics, lay people, religious) to hear their views on the range of topics. Discussion is important and may lead to change.

    Change is slow in an organization which is over 2,000 years old. Many love to criticize the Catholic Church – then do not go to a Catholic Church. But for those who value the Catholic Church, this is an important step.

  • Billy Budd

    My American doctor, a psychiatrist in Boston, was personal friends with the previous pope, the one who quit. She avoided talking about sex with me, and told me that according to her beliefs, it was not wrong to be gay, but that I should be celibate. I tolerated her because she was very competent, but I quietly hated her.

  • Elloreigh

    Good news vs. bad news? Probably “more of the same” news. Look at how long it took the Episcopal Church in America to get to the point of allowing blessing of same-sex unions, and even then not without great controversy among the wider Anglican communion. I just can’t envision the Roman Catholic Church getting there any time soon.

  • Chris Vogel

    Or, would it be irrelevant. Most congregants don’t follow church teachings on sexual issues, and, in turn, their children don’t listen to them, being even more liberal (and pro-same-sex-marriage). The only remaining opponents (to every form of equal treatment for homosexuals) are the higher clergy and the right-wing conservative nuts who have nothing better to do.

  • DuMaurier

    There is a possibility with actual precedent behind it; that is, that the Church’s doctrine (on marriage, in this case) won’t change, but the view that this doctrine be written into civil law will be abandoned or dialed way back. Maybe, maybe not, but that’s been the evolutionary course with other teachings that the church still upholds but no longer says should be imposed by law.

  • TheNewEnergyDude

    Hmmm… is it good news or bad news…

    *Nothing* about the corrupt cult of fake, disingenuous, child raping, gay hating, hypocritical maggots can be good.

  • toberlin

    There is is a often a huge difference between the doctrin of the catholic church and people who are catholic here.They are much more liberal.But I do not tolerate their “tolerance bla bla”.

  • Mezaien

    @Billy Budd: Homie, sorry I did not yet read it. I may be white, but still African American. I am from Namibia, and even been to the SADF (South African Defiance force as a HOMO). I had to run a way to what was Rhodesia, today Zimbabwe, for fear of the Apartheid government. I voted for Mandala, and in 1990 we came to the USA Me my two girls and four boys 6 in all; Sorry man I never knew I can heat whites that much like in the USA, “Icona matata” in Zulu.

  • msfrost

    One word, irrelevant.

  • Mezaien

    Billy Budd; oops I meant to write “hate” not heat :-{

  • Billy Budd

    @Mezaien: I didn’t understand a single word you said.

  • Mezaien

    @Billy Budd: It is call Oxford, English.

  • Billy Budd

    @Mezaien: I understand the words, but not the meaning. There must be something wrong with me. :)

  • jeau

    As always with the Catholic Church, follow the money.


    I am cautiously optimistic. I think they may finally be waking up and realizing that an institution that has been mired in a mostly same sex scandal for a couple of decades hardly has any right to be rallying against same sex marriage……..

    The Catholic church has been on the decline for years in the US as more and more younger people who are vastly more in favor of equality than the hate filled relics who run the organization are shun the church and its ugly dogma.

    It is called self preservation, one of these days the GOP may also get the message………….

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