Home > Queensland Synod News > Homosexuality a new barrier to Christian unity, warns Vatican

Homosexuality a new barrier to Christian unity, warns Vatican

Disputes in churches about homosexuality are hampering the search for Christian unity, Vatican officials have said during a global meeting of the World Council of Churches in Porto Alegre, Brazil. "In the past all Christian churches had the same position on this question," Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, told a media conference at the WCC’s 14-23 February assembly. "But now there are not only divisions between our church and other churches, there are also divisions within churches."

He referred in particular to the Anglican Communion, which has been riven with division over homosexuality since the election in 2003 of V. Gene Robinson as the first bishop in the US Episcopal (Anglican) Church to live openly in an active homosexual relationship.

Kasper’s commission has previously stated that Robinson’s election "created new obstacles" for relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion. And, in 2005, a Vatican statement said people with "deep seated homosexual tendencies" should not under any circumstances become priests.

"We want to be faithful to what scripture is saying," said Kasper at the 16 February media conference. "There are also some anthropological questions. People are no longer sure what it means to be a man, to be a woman."

Still, the Catholic Church opposed "any kind of discrimination" against homosexuals, Kasper said.

Bishop Brian Farrell, the secretary of the Vatican’s unity commission, said the Catholic Church was resolved to continue its official dialogue with the Anglican Communion. Still, it was observing developments with concern. "We must see how things develop," said Farrell. "This is one of our ecumenical partners in difficulty and we are very concerned they find a way out."

(c) Ecumenical News International