The Vatican declared that Catholic priests are barred from blessing same-sex weddings (or even gay and lesbian civil unions) because God “cannot bless sin.” Read on for the full story.
Catholic Priests Can’t Bless Same-Sex Weddings Because They Are a Sin, Vatican Says
After endorsing gay unions and calling for Catholics around the world to treat LGBTQ people with respect, Pope Francis seems to be back to towing the Catholic party line. He just signed off on a 2-page document that boils down to this: Catholic priests may not bless same-sex unions because they’re a sin, and God doesn’t bless sins.
The document came out of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith- the Vatican’s orthodoxy office- according to PBS News. It’s a formal response to a question about whether Catholic priests and other clergy members can bless gay unions. The ban on blessings covers everything from same-sex weddings to civil unions and domestic partnerships.
Pope Francis shocked the world last year when he became the very first pontiff to endorse same-sex civil unions. During an interview for his documentary (Francesco), he promoted the idea of starting a civil union law. He added,
Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family. They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it.
The Vatican upheld that decree, directing their clergy to continue welcoming and blessing LGBTQ individuals. However, despite promoting the idea of a civil union, the Pope seems unwilling to allow Catholic priests to actually bless those unions.
Gay unions not part of “God’s plan”
The Vatican’s stance seems to stem entirely from their view on sex in general. In the Catholic faith, sex exists solely for procreation (reproduction) purposes. Catholic couples get married, they make good Catholic babies, those babies go on to make more Catholic babies, and the religion’s membership continues to grow. That’s “God’s design.” It’s also why the church vehemently opposes anything that prevents couples from creating more offspring (birth control, abortion, and such).
Since, according to the Vatican, gay unions can’t be part of that design (intercourse between same-sex couples doesn’t directly lead to reproduction, in other words), the church simply can’t bless them. See, anything that goes against their interpretation of “God’s plan,” is a sin, plain and simple. Here are the exact words they used in their response:
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.”
While God “does not and cannot bless sin,” he does bless “sinful” individuals so that they “may recognize that [they are] part of his plan of love and allow [themselves] to be changed by him.” In other words, the Catholic Church blesses LGBTQ people in the hopes that they’ll realize that they’re sinful and change.
As for Pope Francis’ statement endorsing same-sex unions, well, that was only for the civil world; not for the Church itself. So, while LGBTQ-rights activists hailed his statement as a small step forward in the right direction, it seems that they’re taking two giant steps back with their latest proclamation.
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