The Catholic Church and its priests cannot bless same-sex unions because God “cannot bless sin,” the Vatican said Monday.
The Vatican Orthodox Office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said it was answering questions about homosexual communities. The two-page statement, published in seven languages, was approved by Pope Francis.
“The blessing of homosexual communities cannot be considered permissible,” the statement said, adding that “there is absolutely no basis for considering homosexual communities in any way similar or even further analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family.”
The church and priests can still bless homosexuals who live in “fidelity,” the statement said. “Instead, it declares illegal any form of blessing that seeks to recognize their unions.”
Francis DeBernardo, executive director of the New Ways Ministry, a Catholic ministry focused on LGBTQ, told the U.S. TODAY that the statement was disappointing but not surprising. Catholics, he said, will continue to find creative ways to bless couples they love and support.
“What the Vatican doesn’t realize is that Catholic believers aren’t happy with that response,” DeBernardo said. “Catholic people recognize the sanctity of love between consecrated same-sex couples and recognize that love as divinely inspired and divinely aided, and thus fulfills a standard to be blessed.”
The statement from the Vatican on Monday comes less than six months after the revelation of Pope Francis astonishing support for same-sex civil communities have been made public.
“Homosexual people have the right to be in the family. They are children of God, ”Francis said in an interview for the 2019 documentary Francesco. years. “What we have to have is the law on civil union. In this way they are legally covered. “
Legally covered, but not sanctioned by the church. And Francis gave it during an interview with Mexican television station Televisa. The Vatican cut it short, but it later appeared in a documentary.
A Vatican statement Monday said God “never stops” blessing all people, including people who are gay.
“But he does not bless and cannot bless sin,” the statement said. “He blesses the sinful man so that he can recognize that he is part of his plan of love and allow him to change it. … The church does not and cannot have the power to bless the unions of persons of the same sex.”
Jim Bretzke, a priest, author and theology professor at John Carroll University in Ohio, said the Vatican’s latest statement on the issue seems to be trying to “pull the needle” into accepting gay people but not gay communities.
“The church explicitly says homosexuals can be blessed,” he said. “But that the home community of a gay couple should not be liturgically blessed, that people should not misinterpret this blessing as a form of Catholic marriage.”
Catholics are usually among the more acceptable sects of Christianity when it comes to same-sex unions. A Pew’s research found that more than half of Catholics in the United States, along with major Protestants and Orthodox, they support same-sex marriage.
The Pope has a complex history with the LGBTQ community, especially when it comes to same-sex marriage. As Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he supported civil unions for gay couples instead of same-sex marriages. Months after his papacy, he was quoted as saying, “If someone is homosexual and seeks the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”
However, Francis has also repeatedly condemned same-sex marriage while he was pope – highlighting a Catholic saying about marriage between a man and a woman in several statements.
“The statement about the illegality of the union blessing among people of the same sex is not … conceived as a form of unjust discrimination,” the statement said on Monday. “But rather a reminder of the truth of the liturgical rite.”
Contribution: Associated Press