Appeal comes in briefing paper sent to English bishops attending family synod

Gay Catholics have sent a briefing paper to the two English bishops attending the family synod next week, urging them to reject “harsh” language about homosexuality.

The LGBT Catholics Briefing Paper resulted from a reflection day, sponsored by the LGBT Catholics Westminster Pastoral Council, held in June 2013.

The briefing paper is addressed to Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, and Bishop Peter Doyle, Bishop of Northampton and chairman of the bishops’ conference Committee for Marriage and Family Life, who will be at the synod which opens on Sunday.

An accompanying press release says the briefing paper “calls for the harsh language of previous Vatican documents referring to LGBT people as ‘disordered’ to be rescinded” and urges the synod to reject the global criminalisation of homosexual activities, including the use of the death penalty.

It also calls on the Vatican to begin a “listening process”, to last between three to five years, including bishops, theologians, gay people and their parents, parish clergy and pastoral workers.

The aim, it says, would be to develop models of pastoral care “which more closely reflect Pope Francis’s call for mercy, justice and equality, particularly applying this to the concerns of LGBT people, parents and families”.

Gay Catholics from the Diocese of Westminster will also be involved in the launch of the Global Network of Rainbow Catholicism in Rome.

The new group will hold a conference, called “Ways of Love: Catholic Encounters with LGBT People & Families”.

Speakers will include former Irish president Dr Mary McAleese and Bishop Raúl Vera, an outspoken Mexican prelate.