Declaring that "God is not afraid of new things," Pope Francis admonished conservative bishops who rolled back an effort to include historic language more accepting of homosexuality, divorce, and cohabitation than anything ever seen at the Vatican, according to Reuters.
The pope, who's famous for posing the rhetorical question "Who am I to judge" gays?, is said to have suffered a blow to his power, according to some progressives inside the Catholic hierarchy. Yet he sounded defiant during his sermon today.
"God is not afraid of new things. That is why he is continuously surprising us, opening our hearts and guiding us in unexpected ways," Francis said during his sermon before 70,000 gathered inside St. Peter's Square. The sermon came one day after the official closing of a two-week working session of bishops and church leaders known as a synod.
Less than a week ago, it appeared the groundbreaking language welcoming gay people into the flock, along with the divorced and unwed, cohabitating couples had made the synod's final-draft document. Then last night, there was a vote among bishops in which conservatives in the church reasserted their power — quashing the language altogether.
They cited fears that such liberalization of the Roman Catholic Church would "create confusion among the faithful and threatened to undermine the traditional family."
However, one year from now — after local parishes across the globe have a chance to discuss the explosive trifecta of issues — Pope Francis and the progressive wing at the Vatican will have another shot at instituting even more durable acceptance into church doctrine than the just-concluded assembly offered.
Yet, the pope saw bright spots even in the recent synod, noting that the assembly of high-ranking clerics was a "great experience" that had allowed leaders of the faith to speak "in true freedom and humble creativity."
"The Church is called to waste no time in seeking to bind up open wounds and to rekindle hope in so many people who have lost hope," Francis said.
The pope beatified Pope Paul VI, who died in 1978, during today's sermon. Paul VI's legacy is a contradictory one of ultra-progressive values that solidified the liberal doctrines of "Vatican II," while also cementing the church's ban against contraception.