And we are back now with pope Francis presiding at the beatification of pope Paul vi this morning at the close of an historic synod of bishops debating a new report on family life including high... See More
And we are back now with pope Francis presiding at the beatification of pope Paul vi this morning at the close of an historic synod of bishops debating a new report on family life including high stakes votes on gays and divorce seen by many as a showdown between the new pope and more conservative voices in the church. We'll hear from cardinal timothy Dolan in Rome after this report from ABC's David Wright. ? Reporter: For a pope who is struggling to welcome back what he calls the lost sheep of his flock, the report from the synod of bishops may be a setback. But it's not an outright defeat. I think it's already had an impact to catholics around the world. Reporter: Gays and lesbians and catholics who have been divorced and remarried were hoping for more based on the open, accepting language of a previous draft. For instance, the early draft said homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer the Christian community and recognize that same-sex couples offer each other precious support. That language was stripped out of the final document which now reaffirms the church's opposition to same-sex marriage. The final version of paragraph 55 does say men and women with homosexual tendencies must be welcomed with respect and delicacy and says discrimination against gays is to be avoided. But even that much was controversial. The Vatican took the unusual step of revealing the vote count for every paragraph. In the name of transparency we wanted you to see everything and to show that we still have a way to go. We're still on a journey together. Reporter: Paragraph 55 was one of three that fell short of the two-thirds majority ordinarily required. The other two dealt with whether catholics who have divorced and remarried should be allowed to take communion. All three items got a simple majority and remain part of the working document and the ongoing conversation. Pope Francis who had encouraged the bishops to speak freely during this extraordinary two-week synod got a standing ovation in the end. Even if not all the bishops are on his page right now, I think that over time he's going to gain support. Reporter: One year from now the synod will reconvene and next time there may be a lot more bishops appointed by pope Francis. For "This week," David Wright, ABC news, New York. And we are joined now from Rome by cardinal timothy Dolan of New York. Cardinal, thank you for joining us. David Wright mentioned this -- My honor, George. Good to be with you. I'm great to have you. David Wright mentioned this standing ovation that the pope got at the close of his speech where he took on both the traditionalists and the hostile inflexibility and the false mercy of the liberal do gooders. It seems like it's evolution not revolution. Good way to point out. I like that. I like that, George. I wish I would have known that earlier. That would have been a good way to describe him. You're right. Pope Francis never ceases to surprise us. And so just when you think you might have him figured out, he offers another fresh innovative way of looking. That talk to which you just referred at the close of the synod was nothing less than inspirational. He spoke from the heart. He spoke of the church. He spoke about himself as the pope. And he challenged -- he challenged all of us. And it reminds me, George, of Jesus, which he should, that's his job description, to remind us of Jesus, always walking down the road and never forgetting the people on either side. Jesus always had kind of radar out for the people at the side of the road. That's what pope Francis is doing for those who might stake out one position or another, he's walking right down the middle of the road and he's trying to bring everybody with him on that walk. He likes to use the word accompaniment, walking with them. The church needs to walk with people, keep them company, be next to them. He does that so well. These debates are so emotional. Try and take us inside and give us a feel for what this debate is like. David pointed out in his piece that some of the language taken out of this document, one sentence was, that homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer the Christian community. Also that same-sex cups offer each other, quote, precious support. Those phrases taken out. Give us a feel for what the argument against phrases like that sounds like. Well, you know, where the argument or the conversation would have taken place, George, would have been in what we call the -- Pardon the Latin language. This is one of the few places in the world you can still use it. In those small groups, which is about 20, 25 people who share the same language, lay people, priests, sisters, bishops, that's where we offered some amendments. I can only speak about my group. And there was a pretty good vivid conversation especially with the african bishops whom I love more than ever who were -- who obviously come from cultures and societies that I admire that have a very strong definition of marriage as man and woman with children and are kind of afraid of attempts to order that down. One of the fears they would have would be what we call same-sex marriage. So they were pastorally sensitive about a document giving any indication that the church might be open to any change at all in the definition of marriage. So there was a good debate. There was a good conversation that went on. Once again, you got overwhelming agreement on things, first of all, on the definition of marriage, given us by god and faithfully handed on by the church, one man, one woman, lifelong, life giving, faithful. Bringing about new life and children. All right. Their enthusiastic response to that and then the other side of that, George, was how can we embrace and never alienate those who are unable to live up to that noble ideal? And as usual, pope Francis is saying we got to keep both those values in mind. So where does this end up? What is the bottom line message to gay and lesbians catholics to to divorced catholics? I'm glad you asked that. This synod was not to make any decisions. We weren't supposed to give any propositions. This was to set the table for a year from now when an even larger synod is going to come together to continue the conversation. We just wanted to kind of set the tone and the agenda and I think that was done very well under the inspiration of the holy spirit and pope Francis. The other thing we got to remember, this, George, in the catholic approach to things, synods don't change doctrine. Nobody changes doctrine. We believe that we're given doctrine by god and our job is to faithfully and effectively pass it on. Synods are more of a pastoral conversation of a family coming together. To kind of give ourselves a report card on how we're doing that and if we can do it better. And so I think that conversation especially on some of the more delicate issues to which you referred, it's probably going to continue next year. And when we look back after the final deliberations, do you think that all of your efforts will be seen as this generation's Vatican 2, a real monumental change in the church? No, I don't think so. I don't think so. Keeping -- this is tough to say, George, but keep in mind that the church's major goal is not to change teaching, not to change what god has revealed but for us to change to conform ourselves to what god has told us about life, about meaning, about purpose, about eternity, about values, that's the church's job. Not to change what he's told us, but to change how we are disobeying it, are not using his teaching to form our lives. That's a lifelong challenge but that's the noble vocation of the church. Cardinal Dolan, thanks very much for your time. This morning it looks like a magnificent day in Rome. It's always good to be with you. Thank you. Cc1 Test message
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