Pope Francis Okays Blessings For Same-Sex Couples with Conditions
In a document approved by Pope Francis, the Vatican backed “the possibility of blessings for couples in irregular situations and for couples of the same sex”.
“One should not prevent or prohibit the Church’s closeness to people in every situation in which they might seek God’s help through a simple blessing,” it said.
However, it does not change the Catholic Church’s stance on same-sex marriages or unions. The Church insists marriage is only between a man and a woman, for the purpose of having children.
“This blessing should never be imparted in concurrence with the ceremonies of a civil union, and not even in connection with them,” the document stressed.
The head of the Vatican’s faith department, which wrote the document, was quoted in an introduction as saying it was “a broadening and enrichment” of the Vatican’s stance on blessings, “based on the pastoral vision of Pope Francis,” who wants a Church open to all.
In 2021, the Vatican said the Church does not have the power to bless same-sex unions because God cannot “bless sin”.
On Monday it upheld that line. “To avoid any form of confusion or scandal”, blessings for same-sex couples cannot be “performed with any clothing, gestures, or words that are proper to a wedding”.
“Such a blessing may instead find its place in other contexts, such as a visit to a shrine, a meeting with a priest, a prayer recited in a group, or during a pilgrimage,” it said.