Nearly half a million Catholics have signed a petition urging Pope Francis to condemn same-sex unions as unnatural and rule out allowing divorced believers who remarry to receive communion, the AFP (Agence France-Presse) reports today (August 13, 2015).
The Filial Appeal on the Future of the Family -- launched by a group describing itself as an alliance of lay Catholics and pro-life organizations -- has also secured the backing of more than 100 senior clerics, including many bishops from developing countries.
According to the Appeal's website, more than 462,700 people have already signed the petition, which urges Francis to uphold traditional teaching ahead of an October synod which will review how the Catholic Church relates to gay and divorced followers.
Francis has made it clear that he wants the church to adopt a more inclusive, understanding approach to believers living "irregular" lifestyles. He caused dismay among traditionalists last year when, asked about his attitude toward gay Catholics, he responded: "Who am I to judge?"