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Pope Says Blessings For Individuals In Same-Sex Relationships Cannot Resemble Marriage

  Pope Francis clarified this week that Catholic priests can bless individuals in same-sex couples but cautioned that such a blessing does n...

 Pope Francis clarified this week that Catholic priests can bless individuals in same-sex couples but cautioned that such a blessing does not sanction the union and cannot resemble a marriage ceremony.

Couples in “irregular situations,” including same-sex relationships, can receive blessings that do not “sanction or legitimize” their unions, the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, which exists to defend Catholic doctrine, clarified in a document published Monday.

The document, called “Fiducia Supplicans,” was signed by Pope Francis as well as the Dicastery’s new prefect, Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández.

Priests can give people in same-sex couples a “spontaneous blessing,” but the blessing cannot be a “liturgical” act or resemble the sacrament of marriage, the document says.

A blessing on people in same-sex couples cannot be given in connection with a civil union, and no “clothing, gestures, or words that are proper to a wedding” can be included in order “to avoid any form of confusion or scandal,” the document says.

“Rites and prayers that could create confusion between what constitutes marriage — which is the ‘exclusive, stable, and indissoluble union between a man and a woman, naturally open to the generation of children’ — and what contradicts it are inadmissible,” the document warns.

Instead, the Vatican said that a priest can give a blessing in other contexts, such as a visit to a shrine, a meeting with a priest, a group prayer, or during a pilgrimage.

In the blessing, the priest can pray for the individuals to have “peace, health, a spirit of patience, dialogue, and mutual assistance — but also God’s light and strength to be able to fulfill his will completely,” the document states.

“There is no intention to legitimize anything, but rather to open one’s life to God, to ask for his help to live better, and also to invoke the Holy Spirit so that the values of the Gospel may be lived with greater faithfulness,” the document adds.

The Catholic Church does not sanction same-sex marriage, and that official position remains unchanged, the document emphasized.

“The Church’s doctrine on this point remains firm,” the document says.


“At the same time, one should not prevent or prohibit the Church’s closeness to people in every situation in which they might seek God’s help through a simple blessing,” the document adds.

In recent years, there has been much speculation around whether Pope Francis would change the Catholic Church’s approach to people in same-sex relationships.

On Monday, media outlets and commentators presented the Vatican’s document as a major shift for the Catholic Church.

However, the Catholic Church never changes its official doctrine, although it often clarifies particular points.

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