World & Africa

Pope Francis Permits Blessing of Same-Sex Couples in Historic Move by the Roman Catholic Church

In a groundbreaking development, Pope Francis has authorized priests to bless same-sex couples, marking a significant stride for LGBT individuals within the Roman Catholic Church.

The leader of the Catholic Church declared that priests should have the authority to bless same-sex and “irregular” couples, albeit under specific circumstances. However, the Vatican clarified that such blessings should not be incorporated into routine Church rituals or associated with civil unions or weddings, maintaining the stance that marriage is exclusively between a man and a woman.

The Vatican’s announcement, approved by Pope Francis on Monday, positions it as a signal that “God welcomes all.” Nonetheless, the document emphasizes that priests must make decisions on a case-by-case basis.

Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, the prefect of the Church, introduced the text, affirming its adherence to the “traditional doctrine of the Church about marriage.” He highlighted that the new guidelines, aligned with the Pope’s pastoral vision, enable priests to bless relationships considered sinful, aiming to broaden the appeal of the Catholic Church.

The declaration underscores that individuals seeking a blessing “should not be required to have prior moral perfection.”

While a blessing in the Catholic Church is a prayer or plea for divine favor, Cardinal Fernández underscored that the revised stance does not confer validation of the status of same-sex couples within the Catholic Church.

This announcement reflects a softened tone from the Catholic Church, though it does not signify a change in position. In 2021, Pope Francis stated that priests could not bless same-sex marriages, asserting that God cannot “bless sin.” The recent move by Pope Francis follows his indication in October that he was open to the idea of the Church blessing same-sex couples.

While some bishops in specific countries had previously permitted priests to bless same-sex couples, the overall position of Church authorities remained ambiguous.

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