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Cardinals blocking Pope Francis move on gay ‘unaware’ of real life

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Cardinals based in Rome showed ‘lack of awareness’ of what life is really like over homosexuality and divorce, says Anglican delegate at the Catholic Synod of Bishops.

Cardinals closeted in the Vatican are holding out against Pope Francis’s drive to make the Roman Catholic Church more welcoming to gay people and divorcees because of a “lack of awareness” of real life, a leading Anglican bishop has suggested.

The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Rev Paul Butler, one of a handful of non-Roman Catholics invited to take part in a global gathering of bishops in Rome to discuss family issues, said he was “excited and intrigued” by much of what he saw.

But he said he left with the impression that while clergy around the world are reaching out beyond their traditional audiences with a “more thoughtful and open” approach, Cardinals ensconced in Rome appeared more concerned about doctrinal purity.

Pope Francis suffered an apparent setback in his efforts to make the Catholic Church more welcoming to those traditionally viewed as “sinners” last week, when a specially-convened synod failed to approve parts of a key declaration signalling a change a new tone.

Writing in The Catholic Herald, Bishop Butler said that he had been “humbled” by the example of Pope Francis in listening to all sides and guiding the Church through the process.

But he added: “I could not help but notice the passion and compassion of local bishops calling for more thoughtful and open pastoral care for all in need, whatever their marital and sexual orientation.

The document had already been significantly watered down from an initial draft which spoke of the need to “respect, welcome and value” people in same-sex relationships.

by John Bingham, Religious affairs editor for The Telegraph

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