Vatican encourages discussions on LGBTQ+ inclusion and women’s role in the Church

LGBTQ+ inclusion

The Vatican has released a 50-page working document urging Roman Catholic bishops to engage in discussions regarding LGBTQ+ inclusion and the role of women within the church.

The document, called Instrumentum Laboris (Latin for “working document”), is based on the input gathered from a two-year worldwide global synod, where Catholics were invited to share their vision for the church’s future.

The comprehensive document covers a wide range of topics, including granting decision-making power to women and exploring the possibility of allowing their ordination.

It also addresses the prospect of allowing married men to become priests in remote areas.

With 33 pages of thought-provoking questions, the Vatican seeks to facilitate meaningful discussions on important issues.

One of the questions asks how the church can create safe spaces where individuals who have felt marginalised or unwelcome can find acceptance, ask questions freely and not face judgment.

The Vatican document also delves into matters concerning LGBTQ+ individuals and others who may feel excluded from the church due to their status or sexuality.

It also poses the question of what concrete steps can be taken to foster a more inclusive environment for remarried divorcees, those in polygamous marriages and LGBTQ+ people.

“Who am I to judge”

This progressive approach is evidenced by the document’s use of the term “LGBTQ+ persons,” which signifies a departure from the traditional terminology of “persons with homosexual tendencies.”

This shift in language reflects Pope Francis’ remark from a decade ago: “Who am I to judge?”

An upcoming assembly in October, which will be attended by bishops and laypeople, will build upon the groundwork laid by the Instrumentum Laboris.

It will serve as a platform for reflecting and discussing the church’s future.

Notably, Pope Francis’ decision in April to allow women delegates to vote at the assembly represents a significant reform.

In addition, the Vatican is considering including women as department heads within the Holy See’s central administration through a new constitution.

The document also highlights the need to renew and reform the church’s procedures, institutional arrangements and structures to enable greater recognition and participation of women, including in governance and decision-making processes.

The role of women as deacons is a significant consideration within this context.

At the conclusion of the synod, Pope Francis will pen an Apostolic Exhortation, an official document that will articulate his views and recommendations.

The series of questions presented in the Instrumentum Laboris will guide the discussions during the assembly, with delegates from both the clergy and the laity participating in round table conversations.


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