Pope Francis warns bishops against turning people away who do not fit 'scheduled faith'

Pope Francis has warned Catholic bishops against turning away from people who do not fit their "scheduled faith", a day after a divisive synod on the Church's attitude to sex, love and marriage ended in stalemate. Bishops submitted a report to the Pope that fudges the key issue of whether divorced and remarried believers should be allowed to play a full role in the Church, reflecting a stalemate in the battle between the conservative and liberal wings.

The document includes only one brief article on the Church's approach to gay believers, framing the question in terms of how priests can help support families who have "persons with homosexual tendencies" in their midst. The emphasis contrasted sharply with first drafts last year which spoke of recognising the value of loving same-sex relationships, to the outrage of those opposed to any dilution of Church teaching that homosexuality amounts to a kind of disorder.

Pope Francis is free to ignore or implement the document, which leaves him room for manoeuvre should he wish to defy his conservative opponents and push on with his attempt to make the Church more relevant and more welcoming towards believers who find themselves in breach of its rules.

"We are able to walk with the people of God, but we already have our schedule for the journey, where everything is listed: we know where to go and how long it will take, everyone must respect our rhythm and every problem is a bother," he said. Instead he pointed to the Gospel story of Jesus healing the blind man Bartimaeus as evidence that God "wants to include above all those kept on the fringes who are crying out to him".  Read more via Australia Broadcasting Corp