Catholic gay rights groups say the rejection by bishops of proposals for wider acceptance of gay people, backed by Pope Francis, is "very disappointing".
A draft paper issued at a Catholic Church synod in the Vatican had included text calling for greater openness towards homosexuals, and divorced Catholics who remarried.
But this failed to win two-thirds backing and was not in the final text.
The synod will reconvene next year.
The New Ways Ministry, a US Catholic gay-rights group, said it was "very disappointing that the synod's final report did not retain the gracious welcome to lesbian and gay people that the draft of the report included".
However, it said the synod's "openness to discussion provides hope for further development down the road".
Another group, DignityUSA, said: "Unfortunately, today, doctrine won out over pastoral need. It is disappointing that those who recognised the need for a more inclusive Church were defeated."