The Vatican has made a U-turn on its views on same-sex marriage.

In a two-paged explanation to the Pope’s controversial statement, the Vatican’s orthodox office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a “negative” decree on the matter.

According to the church, Pope Francis meant to say that the church should treat gay people with dignity and respect.

The church has made it clear that Pope Francis’ endorsement was meant to provide gay couples with legal protections in same-sex unions – in civil spheres only, but not within the church.

But their unions and sex was “intrinsically disordered” and could not be blessed because according to the Roman Catholic Church’s teachings, a marriage is a lifelong union between a man and a woman, and sex in such was only meant to create new life.

“The presence in such relationships of positive elements, which are in themselves to be valued and appreciated, cannot justify these relationships and render them legitimate objects of an ecclesial blessing since the positive elements exist within the context of a union not ordered to the Creator’s plan,” a papal decree reads.

With regards to holy matrimony, God “does not and cannot bless sin: He blesses sinful man, so that he may recognize that he is part of his plan of love and allow himself to be changed by him,” the document says.