Reporting on the the Religious Information Service release of some European results of the global survey on marriage and family, Vatican Insider has a snippet from Belgium that will not surprise LGBT Catholics – but is of great importance to us, and the for relevant discussions likely at the family synod. The Belgian bishops have concluded that the Church need to be “more open and welcoming” – especially to gay people and remarried divorcees.
“Belgian Catholics expect the Church to welcome everyone, regardless of differences or mistakes made. This especially true when it comes to gay people and remarried divorcees,” SIR says.
“Belgian Catholics, inspired by Francis, are calling for a mother Church that embraces all: hence the need to grow in the faith and form lively communities,” SIR highlights. The questionnaires also placed an emphasis on the essential role women can play in Church life: “It is they who pass on the faith to children and guide them,” Belgian Catholics point out.
– Vatican Insider.
Iglesia Descalza assessed the Univision global survey on Catholic beliefs on sexual ethics, which it describes (appropriately) as a “moral disconnect”.
Another survey (raw data spreadsheet available here), this time by Spanish language media giant Univision, shows that the moral disconnect between Catholics and their Church is not confined to the United States. Last week, Univision polled over 12,000 Catholics in 12 different countries about some of the most controversial issues facing the Church today. The countries included the United States, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, France, Spain, Italy, Poland, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, and the Philippines.
While Pope Francis received an almost universal glowing endorsement from his global flock, with 87% rating his performance as good or excellent, the magisterium of the Church he heads up received substantially less unanimous support. Catholics, especially in Europe and the Americas, simply no longer believe many of the traditional teachings of the Church on many issues of sexual morality. There is more support in Africa and in the one Asian country surveyed. Eventually, the pope will receive all the results from the Vatican’s own survey on these issues administered through the dioceses but meanwhile, here is what Univision discovered:
– full analysis at Iglesia Descalza
The Extraordinary Synod on Marriage and the Family, which will be taking place later this year, was never intended to produce doctrinal change. Many events, however, have unintended consequences. Pope Francis’ revolution in the Catholic Church has often been compared to Vatican II, but at the outset, nobody really expected the extent of the transformation it achieved. The synod will not directly produce any change in doctrine, but it is being preceded by an extensive global consultation on how the Church as a whole understands and accepts those doctrines. If anyone really doubts that the conference will not be forced at least to consider the urgent need for doctrinal change, they should pay close attention to the many reports now emerging on the responses to that consultation – and especially to the responses of the experts, the professional moral theologians. National Catholic Reporter has some commentary on responses from some German theologians:
German theologians critique church teachings, propose new sexual understanding
Two groups of noted German theologians have bluntly outlined how church teaching does not align with the concerns or lifestyles of most European Catholics in response to a Vatican questionnaire on Catholics’ attitudes on issues like contraception and same-sex marriage.
Church sexual teachings, say the representatives of the Association of German Moral Theologians and the Conference of German-speaking Pastoral Theologians, come from an “idealized reality” and need a “fundamental, new evaluation.”
“It becomes painfully obvious that the Christian moral teaching that limits sexuality to the context of marriage cannot look closely enough at the many forms of sexuality outside of marriage,” say the 17 signers of the response, who include some of Germany’s most respected Catholic academics.
The theologians also propose that the church adopt a whole new paradigm for its sexual teachings, based not on moral evaluations of individual sex acts but on the fragility of marriage and the vulnerability people experience in their sexuality.
The theologians are responding to a Vatican request last October that bishops worldwide prepare for a 2014 global meeting of Catholic prelates by distributing a questionnaire on family topics “as widely as possible to deaneries and parishes so that input from local sources can be received.”
full report at National Catholic Reporter.
At Bilgrimage, Bill Lindsey reflects on the German theologians’ response to the global consultation, in preparation for the Extraordinary Synod on Marriage and the Family
German Moral and Pastoral Theologians Respond to Pope Francis’s Questions about Sexual Morality and Family: Time for Significant Change
What strikes me as I read the statement is that it depends on a distinction that Catholic moral theologians (and Catholic theologians in general) have been making for a long time now: the magisterium offers Catholics an “idealized” understanding of human sexuality that does not take into account the experience of lay Catholics to whom this idealized teaching is handed down. Magisterial teaching on sexual ethics is very conspicuously not “received” by lay Catholics–particularly, as the document points out, regarding the issue of contraception.
The gap between the idealized, acts-centered, non-experience-based sexual ethical teaching handed down by the magisterium and the experience-based understanding of human sexuality lived by lay Catholics in their lives of graced discipleship continues to grow (see: issue of same-sex marriage), and the gap is becoming insupportable.
The German theologians call for an understanding of sexual ethics that continues to enshrine the ideals to which magisterial teaching points, but corrects the idealized, acts-centered, non-experience-based teaching of the magisterium by incorporating dimensions of care (a “pallial” dimension), emancipation, and reflectivity:
-full reflection at Bilgrimage