Whenever issues like sex and marriage are debated publicly in the Catholic Church, outlying radical organizations come out of the woodwork, trying to grab the spotlight for their own agendas for reform. The Vatican synod on marriage and family issues, which begins tomorrow, will be no different.
An international conference sponsored by the European Forum of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Christian Groups began yesterday in Rome. The conference, scheduled to precede the official synod, seeks to draw attention to same-sex couples.
Liberals pushing for change are thinking long term, trying to alter perceptions and attitudes. According to conference-attendee Sr. Jeannine Gramick, a vocal advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, LGBT Catholics “would be delighted if the synod accepted same-sex marriages,” but they are realistic enough to believe this will not happen. “They are thinking of future generations,” she said.
Representatives from another liberal umbrella group, which calls itself “Catholic Church Reform International,” and advocates the ordination of women to the priesthood, optional priestly celibacy and gay marriage, arrived in Rome on Thursday for a two-day forum called “Listening to the Faithful.” After the meeting, members of the group will deliver their “insights and suggestions” to the synod.
Meanwhile, the Human Rights Campaign — the largest LGBT advocacy group in the U.S. — will be holding its own parallel synod in Cincinatti, Ohio, on October 15 “to bring attention to the continued homophobia and transphobia” of Cincinatti Archbishop Dennis Schnurr.