The Pope of Vatican City, Pope Francis, has indicated that there may be a chance for priests to bless same-sex couples. However, this would only be allowed in certain circumstances, determined on a case-by-case basis, and it should not be mistaken for a traditional wedding ceremony between a man and a woman.
Pope Francis expressed his viewpoint in response to five questions posed by conservative cardinals hailing from Asia, Europe, Africa, the United States, and Latin America.
The pope received a series of official inquiries, referred to as “dubia” (meaning “doubts” in Latin), from the cardinals regarding matters concerning a worldwide assembly that commences at the Vatican on Wednesday.
One of the inquiries was about a trend in certain locations, such as Germany, where priests bless couples of the same gender who are in a committed partnership.
In July, there was a written conversation that took place and the Vatican shared the pope’s responses on Monday. This was in response to five cardinals who had previously revealed their own plan, declaring their disappointment with Pope Francis’ answers.
The pope’s response was nuanced and contrasted with the Vatican’s doctrinal office explicitly ruling against blessings of this nature in 2021.
Pope Francis responded with seven key points, stating that the Church firmly upholds the belief that marriage is solely between a man and a woman, with the purpose of procreation. He also emphasized the importance of avoiding any rituals or sacraments that go against this doctrine.
However, he stated that “compassion for others should guide all of our actions and thoughts,” emphasizing that “we must not solely act as judges who only disapprove, turn away, and isolate.”
According to him, there are occasions when requests for blessings serve as a way for individuals to connect with God and improve their lives, even if certain actions may be considered morally unacceptable.
The Church’s doctrine states that being attracted to the same sex is not considered a sin, but engaging in homosexual behaviors is.
According to Francis, any possible blessings should not become the standard or receive widespread approval from Church authorities, such as dioceses or national bishops conferences.
According to Francis DeBernardo, the executive director of New Ways Ministry, an organization that advocates for the inclusion of LGBT Catholics in the Church, the response to blessings for same-sex couples may not be a complete endorsement, but it is still greatly appreciated.
Mr. DeBernardo stated that the pope’s words suggested that the church acknowledges the possibility of holy love between couples of the same gender, and that the love shared by these couples reflects the love of God.