Cardinal Timothy Dolan: 'This Synod Was Not to Make Any Decisions'

Archbishop of New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan said today that the new report regarding family life out from the Catholic Church this weekend does not signify a monumental change in doctrine or teaching.

The much-debated document, which included language regarding the church's stance towards gays and lesbians as well as divorced Catholics, was the final work product of a historic meeting - or synod - of bishops this month, which Dolan said is intended to set the agenda for further discussions this year and a second synod next fall.

"This synod was not to make any decisions," Dolan told "This Week" anchor George Stephanopoulos. "We weren't supposed to give any propositions. This was to set the table for a year from now."

Archbishop of New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan on 'This Week'

The meeting of bishops made headlines this week after a preliminary version of their report included unprecedented, inclusive language towards towards gays and lesbians. The earlier draft read, "homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer the Christian community."

However, the later version released Saturday stripped that language, and instead included a watered-down version, which read, "men and women with homosexual tendencies must be welcomed with respect and delicacy."

Even this more tempered paragraph did not receive a two-thirds majority vote from the bishops required for approval. In a show of transparency, the Vatican released all sections of the final document with corresponding vote counts.

At the start of the meeting, Pope Francis encouraged all bishops to speak openly, and, according to Dolan, "There was pretty good, vivid conversation, especially with the African bishops."

"There was a good debate. There was a good conversation that went on," he said.

On these hot-button issues Dolan argued that Francis is walking the "middle of the road" and is inspirational.

"Pope Francis never ceases to surprise us," he said. "And so just when you think you might have him figured out, he offers another fresh innovative way of looking.

"Keep in mind that the church's major goal is not to change teaching … but for us to change, to conform ourselves to what God has told us," the cardinal said.

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