The reign of Pope Francis as a reformist pope is over.
Gays in particular will need to find another religion. Catholicism made it clear this weekend that it doesn’t want them.
The synod at the Vatican began with the publication on Monday of a historic “Welcome to Homosexual Persons” document, but it ended on Saturday with the Traditional Church Message To Homosexuals: Get Lost.
Yesterday conservative Catholic websites could not contain their glee at the about-face. “Here's the good news: the paragraph on gays has been scrapped from the Final Relatio. It is gone,” wrote the far right Church Militant website.
They continued: “The bishops failed to approve even a watered-down section on ministering to homosexuals that stripped away the welcoming tone of acceptance contained in a draft document earlier in the week."
Only conservative Christians are delighted when a “welcoming tone of acceptance” is replaced with naked hostility.
But in seeking to protect the Catholic church from modern life conservatives are turning the eternal faith of St. Peter into the spiritual wing of the Tea Party.
And if anything, this weekend they have proved themselves even more hostile to gays now than the far right American political movement.
The synod had first billed itself as a discussion of family life, but it quickly ran aground when some church members suggested that gays could be family too.
By Monday evening it was clear that conservative elements in the church do not believe that gay people qualify as family. In fact they don’t even merit a mention (almost all references to gays were scrubbed from the final report).
So, having published a landmark welcome on Monday, by Saturday they were sending gays packing again. Can it be called a revolution if it hasn’t even lasted a week?
Call it the three no’s: no communion for divorcees, no cohabitation for loving couples, and no gays today or ever.
Pope Francis may have exchanged his gilded palaces for a humble room and a modest bed, but it’s clear at last that it was only a change of style, not substance.
The church has been a cold house for gay Catholics for centuries, but this weekend the majority of bishops went further and closed Christ’s door.
Message: Your love is not love. It is not even debatable. Keep out.