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Polish bishops 'reassured' by Pope over gay marriage

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 14.02.2014 13:27
Despite his reputation as a 'liberal' and reformer, Pope Francis has told Polish bishops that he "stands firmly by the Church's teaching" on gay marriage.

A handout photo released by the Vatican newspaper 'L'Osservatore Romano' shows Pope Francis receives participants of plenary assembly of the Congregation for Catholic Education at the Vatican City, Vatican, 13 February: PHOTO - EPA/L'OSSERVATORE ROMANO

Archbishop Stanislaw Budzik told the Catholic News Agency that during a so-called ad limina visit to the Vatican last week, around 100 Polish bishops informed the pontiff that the Church is being widely criticised in the Polish media.

“In our talks we told the Holy Father that he has good media coverage in Poland, but the Polish Catholic Church was criticised," Archbishop Budzik said.

Bishops informed the pontiff that some media reports characterise the Church in Poland as “backward and immobile” in comparison with Pope Francis's “openness.”

The Polish bishops explained that they were receiving negative coverage owing to child abuse cases, and opposition to gay marriage.

According to Archbishop Budzik, when gay marriage was raised “the Holy Father laughed and reassured us that he is very close to us and that he, of course, does not want to change anything essential in our faith and that he stands firmly by the Church's teaching.”

In July 2013, the Pope told journalists that homosexuals “should not be marginalised,” a remark that was interpreted as signalling a departure from the Roman Catholic Church's traditional portrayal of homosexuality as sinful.

Despite being characterised as a ‘liberal’ by much of the world's media since being elected pontiff in 2013, Pope Francis has traditional views on same-sex marriage, telling the Italian bishops' newspaper Avvenire in January that he regarded it as an “anthropological regression” and that he was “saddened” by legislative proposals in Malta to extend equality legislation to homosexual couples, particularly those who wish to adopt.

Archbishop Budzik said that the Pope “understands very well” that the Church “needs to find a language, that tells the unchanging message of the Gospel in today’s culture, so that the Gospel reaches people and touches their hearts and transforms their lives and open up to God and to people.” (nh/pg)

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