Catholic church cannot bless same-sex unions, Vatican decrees

15 March 2021

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The Guardian reports:

The Vatican has said the Catholic church cannot bless same-sex unions, as God “does not bless sin”, dashing the hopes of gay Catholics who believed Pope Francis might have created a more open environment.

In response to a question put to it about whether priests can bless gay couples, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), published a decree saying that such blessings “cannot be considered licit”. The response was approved by Pope Francis, who last year endorsed same-sex civil unions in an interview for a documentary film.

While the decree said “the Christian community and its pastors must welcome with respect and sensitivity persons with homosexual inclinations”, their unions cannot be blessed.

According to Catholic teaching, marriage between a man and a woman is part of God’s plan and intended for the creation of children. Since gay unions are not intended to be part of that plan, such relationships cannot be legitimately blessed.

Time reports:

The decree distinguished between the church’s welcoming and blessing of gay people, which it upheld, but not their unions since any such sacramental recognition could be confused with marriage.

In the new document and an accompanying unsigned article, the Vatican said questions had been raised about whether the church should bless same-sex unions in a sacramental way in recent years, and after Francis had insisted on the need to better welcome and accompany gay people in the church.

In the article, the Vatican stressed the “fundamental and decisive distinction” between gay individuals and gay unions, noting that “the negative judgment on the blessing of unions of persons of the same sex does not imply a judgment on persons.”

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