The final version of a controversial Vatican document issued today has radically revised its earlier wording on homosexuals.
It has eliminated language that had talked more positively of them than ever before in church history.
The document, called a "relatio", was issued at the conclusion of a two-week assembly, or synod, of some 200 Roman Catholic bishops from around the world.
After an initial draft was released last Monday, conservative bishops vowed to change the language, saying it had created confusion among the faithful and threatened to undermine the traditional family.
The two-paragraph section of the final document dealing with homosexuals was titled "Pastoral attention towards persons with homosexual orientations".
The previous, three-paragraph version had been called "Welcoming homosexuals."
The earlier version spoke of "accepting and valuing their(homosexuals') sexual orientations" and giving gays "a welcoming home".
The final version eliminated those phrases and most of the other language that church progressives and gay rights groups had hailed as a breakthrough.
The new version used more vague, general language, repeating earlier church statements that gays "should be welcomed with respect and sensitivity" and that discrimination against gays "is to be avoided".
The final version stressed that "there is no foundation whatsoever" to compare homosexual marriage to heterosexual marriage, calling heterosexual marriage "God's plan for matrimony and the family".
The earlier version said the church should acknowledge that couples in same-sex relations offered "mutual aid" and "precious support" for each other in times of difficulty.
While the original text did not signal any change in the church's condemnation of homosexual acts or gay marriage, it used less judgmental and more compassionate language than that seen in Vatican statements before the 2013 election of Pope Francis.
The Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has said that the text must be read in the context of Pope Francis's final remarks to the Synod.
Archbishop Martin said that the Pope had received a five minute standing ovation from those present as he warned bishops of hostile rigidity.
He said that the Pope had sought openness from the beginning and had published details of the votes from the Synod Hall.
Elsewhere An American Cardinal who spoke out against Pope Francis's stance on homosexuality has said that he is to be demoted.
Cardinal Raymond Burke had said that it was long past time for Pope Francis to clarify where the Church stood.