Pope Francis on Sunday, as he beatified Pope Paul VI who implemented the Second Vatican Council’s vast changes, called on the church to adapt to “changing conditions of society.”
His remarks took on added meaning as the bishops ended a two-week conference by rejecting landmark wording that would soften the church’s stance toward homosexuality and divorce.
“God is not afraid of new things,” Francis pointedly said during the beatification Mass.
Whether the document issued Saturday by the bishops is viewed as a setback for the pope, the conference did show the church can discuss difficult topics — such as the role of gays, lesbians and divorced Catholics. It also exposed a wide rift between conservative and liberal-minded leaders.