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21 April, 2024
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Pope Francis approves blessings for same-sex couples

The Vatican's historic decision maintains opposition to gay marriage while allowing for a more inclusive approach


Pope Francis has officially sanctioned the blessing of same-sex couples, marking a significant departure in policy aimed at fostering inclusivity within the Catholic Church. This move, however, maintains the church's steadfast opposition to gay marriage.

The Vatican's doctrine office released a document expanding on a letter from Francis to conservative cardinals published in October. In the preliminary response, Francis hinted at the possibility of such blessings under certain circumstances, provided they were distinct from the marriage ritual.

The document reiterates the condition that such blessings should not be confused with marriage and should avoid ties to specific Catholic celebrations or religious services. It emphasizes that the blessings must not coincide with civil union ceremonies, use set rituals, or involve wedding-associated clothing and gestures.

While the Vatican's move has been praised by some as a step towards dismantling discrimination, certain LGBTQ+ advocates caution that it reinforces the idea that gay couples are inferior to heterosexual partnerships.

This development is part of Pope Francis' broader initiative to welcome LGBTQ+ Catholics. In the past, he has permitted trans people to be baptized as Catholics under certain conditions and has made statements asserting that being homosexual is not a crime.

The document acknowledges that people in "irregular" unions, whether gay or straight, are in a state of sin but emphasizes that this should not deprive them of God's love or mercy. It underlines that those seeking blessings should not be subjected to an exhaustive moral analysis.

While supporters see this as a significant step forward, traditionalists express outrage, with some considering the document as a form of heresy. The Vatican's statement also advises against codifying any blessing or prayer, responding to proposals for a prayer for same-sex couples in Belgium.

This move follows the Church of England's recent announcement allowing clergy to bless the unions of same-sex couples who have had civil weddings or partnerships, though it still prohibits church weddings for such couples.

[Information sourced from AP News]

Cyprus  |  Vatican  |  LGBTQ+

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