The Vatican ruled Monday that the Catholic Church cannot bless same-sex unions because God “cannot bless sin.”
The Vatican’s orthodoxy office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, issued the decision in a formal response to a question about whether Catholic clergy can bless gay unions.
The answer, which came in the form of a two-page explanation, published in seven languages and approved by Pope Francis, was “negative.”
The decree distinguished between the welcome and blessing of homosexual people by the church, which it defended, but not their unions, since such sacramental recognition could be confused with marriage.
The Vatican maintains that gay people should be treated with dignity and respect, but that gay sex is “inherently messy.”
Catholic teaching holds that marriage, a life-long union between a man and a woman, is part of God’s plan and is meant to create new life.
Since gay unions are not meant to be part of that plan, they cannot be blessed by the church, the document said.
“The presence in such relationships of positive elements, which in themselves must be valued and appreciated, cannot justify these relationships and turn them into legitimate objects of an ecclesial blessing, since the positive elements exist in the context of an unordered union to the Creator. plan ”, it said.
God “does not bless and cannot bless sin: he blesses sinful man, so that he recognizes that it is part of his plan of love and lets himself be changed by it,” he added.
Pope Francis has endorsed providing gay couples with legal protections in same-sex unions, but that refers to the civil sphere, not within the church.
Those comments were made during an interview with a Mexican station, Televisa, in 2019, but were cut short by the Vatican, until they appeared in a documentary last year.
But the documentary misunderstood the context, Francisco was referring to the position he took when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires and the country’s legislators were considering approving same-sex marriage, which he and the Catholic Church opposed.
Instead, then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio supported the provision of legal protections for gay people in stable unions through the so-called “civil coexistence law.”
Francis told Televisa: “Gay people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God. “Speaking of families with homosexual children, he said:” You cannot kick someone out of a family, nor make their life miserable because of this. What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered. “
In the new document and an unsigned accompanying article, the Vatican said questions had been raised about whether the church should bless same-sex unions in a sacramental way in recent years, and after Francis insisted on the need for give a better welcome and accompany homosexual people. in the church.
In the article, the Vatican emphasized the “fundamental and decisive distinction” between homosexual individuals and homosexual unions, noting that “negative judgment on the blessing of same-sex unions does not imply a judgment on persons.”
But he explained the rationale for prohibiting the blessing of such unions, noting that any union that involves sexual activity outside of marriage cannot be blessed because it is not in a state of grace, or “commands to receive and express the good that is pronounced.” and given for the blessing. “
He said the blessing of a same-sex union could give the impression of a kind of sacramental equivalence to marriage. “This would be wrong and misleading,” the article said.
In 2003, the same Vatican office issued a similar decree saying that the church’s respect for homosexual people “cannot in any way lead to the approval of homosexual behavior or the legal recognition of homosexual unions.”
Doing so, the Vatican reasoned then, would not only condone “deviant behavior,” but would create an equivalence with marriage, which the church maintains is an indissoluble union between man and woman.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism