Synod survey results call Church’s sexual morality ‘merciless’

Church teachings on sexual morality are either unknown or rejected as heartless.

These are the initial findings in Germany and Switzerland to the Vatican’s worldwide survey, that found most Catholics in these countries dispute Church teaching on birth control, premarital sex, gay sex and banning divorced people from remarrying in the church.

The German bishops said while many still respect the Church’s ideal of stable marriages and a happy family life, the results of the survey were “sobering”.

Less than 3% of Catholic couples said they used Church-favoured natural family planning, sometimes called the rhythm method, they said.

On the positive side, while almost all German Catholics approved of artificial birth control, the survey results show the vast majority are against abortion.

The report also identified that while German Catholics favoured the acceptance of the legal recognition of same-sex union as ‘a commandment of justice’ and believed the Church should bless the relationships, most did not want gay marriage legalised.

Calling the law that prevents divorced Catholics from remarrying within the Church, “merciless”, the report said most Germans found the remarriage rule to be one of unjustified discrimination against these faithful churchgoers.

In response, the German bishops are suggesting the Church should move away from what it called its “prohibition ethics” of rules against certain acts or views and stress “advisory ethics” meant to help Catholics live better lives.

In sexual morality, it should find a way of presenting its views that does not make people feel it is hostile to sex.

Responses to the worldwide survey are being compiled as part of the resource for the October 2014 Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.


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