The Catholic Church issued a statement today declaring it does not have the power to bless same-sex unions. The Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, the church’s office on matters of orthodoxy, today issued a two-page Responsum of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which explained that while members of the LGBTQ+ community are welcome to worship in the church, same-sex unions do not reflect the design of the creator according to doctrine and cannot be blessed.
Noting that “it is necessary that what is blessed be objectively and positively ordered to receive and express grace, according to the designs of God inscribed in creation,” the church declared “it is not licit to impart a blessing on relationships, or partnerships, even stable, that involve sexual activity outside of marriage.” Since the church defines marriage as between “a man and a woman,” same-sex unions are therefore illicit.
The statement went on to acknowledge the “presence in such relationships of positive elements, which are in themselves to be valued and appreciated,” but that these “positive elements exist within the context of a union not ordered to the Creator’s plan.”
Pope Francis and the Catholic Church have given mixed signals on issues of importance to the LGBTQ+ community in recent years. In a 2018 interview, he described “the issue of homosexuality” as a “very serious matter” in considering candidates for the priesthood. But last September he told a group of parents who were turned away from the local churches because they had LGBTQ+ children that “the Pope loves your children as they are, because they are the children of God.”
Then in October, the Pope initially appeared to give his blessing to same-sex unions when he was quoted in a new documentary as saying “we have to create a civil union law” because “that way they are legally covered.” Entitled Francesco, the film told the life and ministry of the Argentinian native and the statement from the Pope was part of the pre-release of the film. The church quickly clarified the position of both the Pope and the church, though, saying the statements had been taken out of context from an unpublished interview where Pope Francis also noted that his own position on civil unions did “not mean approving of homosexual acts, not in the least.” The latest edict from the church appears to solidify the church’s position on the matter.
In Monday’s statement, the church reminded followers that “God Himself never ceases to bless each of His pilgrim children in this world” but that “he does not and cannot bless sin.” And since the church still view same-sex sexual relations as sinful, “the Church does not have, and cannot have the power to bless unions of persons of the same sex.”