Pope Francis Formally Approves Allowing Priests To Bless Same-S_x Couples
In a groundbreaking development for the LGBTQ community within the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis has granted permission for priests to offer blessings to same-s_x couples, marking a notable step forward.
The leader of the Roman Catholic Church expressed that, under specific circumstances, priests should be allowed to bless same-s_x and “irregular” couples. However, the Vatican clarified that these blessings should not be integrated into regular Church rituals or linked to civil unions or weddings. The Vatican reaffirmed its stance on defining marriage as between a man and a woman.
Pope Francis gave his approval to a document issued by the Vatican, announcing this change on Monday. While emphasizing that the move signifies that “God welcomes all,” the document also underscores that priests must assess each case individually.
Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, the Church’s prefect, introduced the text, affirming that the new declaration maintains the “traditional doctrine of the Church about marriage.” However, in alignment with the Pope’s “pastoral vision” of expanding the Church’s appeal, the updated guidelines permit priests to bless relationships considered sinful.
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The document specifies that individuals seeking a blessing “should not be required to have prior moral perfection.” In Catholic tradition, a blessing is a prayer or plea, usually administered by a minister, seeking God’s favorable regard for the person or people being blessed.
Cardinal Fernández emphasized that this altered stance does not confer validation on the status of same-sex couples within the eyes of the Catholic Church. While this marks a tonal shift for the Catholic Church, it does not represent a change in its official position. In 2021, Pope Francis asserted that priests could not bless same-s_x marriages, citing that God cannot “bless sin.”
In October, Pope Francis had hinted at his openness to the idea of the Church blessing same-s_x couples. Prior to this announcement, certain bishops in specific countries had allowed priests to bless same-s_x couples, even though the official position of Church authorities remained ambiguous.