The Synod of Bishops’ three week assembly on marriage and family has now concluded. It’s now two years since the process began, and it’s not over yet. (We still must wait for Pope Francis’ response, which will be published as an Apostolic Exhortation). Meanwhile, LGBT opinion on the results of the assembly and its implications for ourselves, are sharply divided. Some see the the near total absence of even any reference to LGBT concerns as a disappointing “no change”, while others see this very silence as a promising sign, that bishops recognize the need for real change, after dialogue with lesbian and gay people, and sound theological reflection.
Whichever interpretation turns out to be correct, three notable responses suggest that for Quest, the synod assembly has opened up a major opportunity, which we should be ready to use: the English bishops’ representatives have returned with supportive statements, James Alison has written of his belief that the bishops’ avoidance of the subject in the final document is a sign that they recognize the need for further real engagement, and Cardinal Kasper has said that although there has been no change in doctrine or the rules on communion for the divorced and remarried, nevertheless, doors have been opened. Taken together, we may conclude that at least for British lesbian and gay Catholics, a door has opened up a crack. It is now up to us to force the opening wider, and make our way through it.