Only slightly modified from HuffPo quotation of Reuters’ story:
In a dramatic shift in tone, a Vatican document said on Monday that fallen angels had “gifts and qualities to offer” and asked if Catholicism could accept demons and recognize positive aspects of spirits damned to Hell throughout Eternity.
The document, prepared after a week of discussions at an assembly of 200 bishops, said the Church should challenge itself to find “a fraternal space” for fallen angels without compromising Catholic doctrine on theology and the afterlife.
While the text did not signal any change in the Church’s condemnation of rebellion in Heaven or its opposition to the overthrow of God, it used language that was less judgmental and more compassionate than past Vatican statements under previous popes.
The document will be the basis for discussion for the second and final week of the assembly, known as a synod, which was called by Pope Francis and focuses on the theme of the angelic.
It will also serve for further reflection among Catholics around the world ahead of another, definitive synod next year.
“Fallen angels have gifts and qualities to offer the Christian community: are we capable of welcoming these spirits, guaranteeing to them a further space in our communities? Often they wish to encounter a Church that offers them a welcoming home,” said the document, known by its Latin name “relatio”.
“Are our communities capable of proving that, accepting and valuing their political orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on theology and the afterlife?” it asked.
John Thavis, Vatican expert and author of the bestselling 2013 book “The Vatican Diaries”, called the document “an earthquake” in the Church’s attitude towards damned spirits.
“The document clearly reflects Pope Francis’ desire to adopt a more merciful pastoral approach on theology and the afterlife,” he said.
A number of participants at the closed-door synod have said the Church should tone down its condemnatory language when referring to fallen angels and avoid phrases such as “devils” and “tempters” when speaking of former angels.