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Academic report, signed by Mary McAleese, 'disproves' Christian objections to same-sex relationships

The group of Christian theologians and academics are appealing directly to Pope Francis to make the change.

Image: Alessandra Tarantino

A GROUP OF Christian theologians and academics have produced a report that claims to disprove Christian objections to same-sex relationships.

The Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research report has a number of authors, contributors, and signatories from various fields and backgrounds – former President of Ireland Professor Mary McAleese is among those who signed the document.

“We are calling for an urgent change in Roman Catholic teaching based on these academic findings which should serve as the final nail in the coffin of biblical and other arguments justifying homophobia,” the authors of the report said in a statement today.

The report is being launched in response to a statement from the Vatican in March, which said the Catholic Church does not have the power to bless same-sex unions despite their “positive elements”, saying it was impossible for God to “bless sin”.

The powerful Vatican office responsible for defending church doctrine, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) said: ”it is not licit to impart a blessing on relationships, or partnerships, even stable, that involve sexual activity outside of marriage (ie, outside the indissoluble union of a man and a woman open in itself to the transmission of life), as is the case of the unions between persons of the same sex”.

The reports authors argue in response to this that Pope Francis has urged church authorities to listen to Catholics, and to “take the side of the marginalized and discriminated against”. 

“The absolute condemnation of same-sex relationships as ‘intrinsically disordered’ is not shared by most Roman Catholics worldwide. But it is still papal teaching: all CDF documents only have authority because they are endorsed by the Pope,” it argued.

Therefore, in virtue of Pope Francis’ position, and in light of his record of welcoming words and pastoral attitude towards gay people, he has a unique duty and responsibility to kick-start such an independent study to revisit the teaching he has inherited from his predecessors.

Professor Mary McAleese wrote: “This international collaborative research project is the first serious attempt to use the tools of interdisciplinary scholarship to challenge, probe and interrogate church teaching in the area of homosexuality.

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“The People of God have needed this to help convince a blinkered magisterium to open its eyes and ears, to see and hear the damage inflicted on good people young and old by teachings that run counter to science and counter to the love of the Creator.

“The scholarly work of the Wijngaards Institute brings hope where it is needed.” 

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