Pope Francis Approves Same-Sex Marriages
TOPLINE Pope Francis formally approved same sex marriages Monday, clearing the way for Catholic priests to bless people without subjecting them to “an exhaustive moral analysis,” the latest in a string of radical changes to the church under Francis’ tenure.
Pope Francis (Latin: Franciscus; Italian: Francesco; Spanish: Francisco; born Jorge Mario Bergoglio; 17 December 1936) is the head of the Catholic Church, the bishop of Rome, and sovereign of the Vatican City State.
- The document, released Monday by the Vatican, reaffirms marriage as a lifelong sacrament that can only be between a man and woman but says that blessings can be offered under some circumstances and that priests should use “pastoral charity” when it comes to blessing requests.
- The document said blessings should not be offered at the same time as a civil union or with the garb traditionally used in weddings.
- Monday’s announcement reverses a 2021 Vatican ruling that condemned the blessings of same-sex unions saying God “cannot bless sin.”
The Vatican Gives Conditional Approval To Blessings For Same Sex Marriage to Couples
“Ultimately, a blessing offers people a means to increase their trust in God,” the document said. “The request for a blessing, thus, expresses and nurtures openness to the transcendence, mercy, and closeness to God in a thousand concrete circumstances of life, which is no small thing in the world in which we live.”
- Monday’s announcement is not a total surprise as the Pope hinted he might formally approve same-sex blessings in October. In the fall, the Vatican released Francis’ response to conservative cardinals who had written to the Pope about the possibility of same-sex couples being blessed.
- The conservative cardinals strongly opposed the idea, but Francis suggested the approval of the blessings was a possibility. The church has long opposed same-sex marriage as it has said it believes marriage is a union between a man and woman, and because it also opposes homosexuality.
- Since Francis was appointed Pope in 2013, he’s made more accepting statements about same-sex couples. Four months after becoming Pope, Francis said, “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?” And earlier this year, he described homosexuality as a sin, “but isn’t a crime,” in criticizing anti-LGBTQ laws.
- His statements starkly contrast with remarks from his predecessor, Benedict XVI who wrote in 2005 that homosexuality is “a strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil.”
Catholic Priests In Germany Began Offering Same-Sex Blessings
Earlier this year—before Francis hinted the Vatican might begin offering same-sex blessings—several Catholic priests in Germany began offering same-sex blessings.
In October, the Vatican announced people who are transgender could be baptized, serve as godparents, and be witnesses at church weddings.