On Monday, the Vatican released a shocking and rare statement denying Church blessings for civil unions between same-sex partners.
A note from the Vatican, which was approved by both Pope Francis and the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, notes that, “it is not licit to impart a blessing on relationships, or partnerships, even stable, that involve sexual activity outside of marriage (i.e., outside the indissoluble union of a man and a woman open in itself to the transmission of life), as is the case of the unions between persons of the same sex.”
“Furthermore, since blessings on persons are related to the sacraments, the blessing of homosexual unions cannot be considered licit, as it would in some way constitute an imitation or reference of analogy with the nuptial blessing, invoked on the man and woman who unite in the sacrament of Matrimony, given that “there is no foundation for assimilating or establishing analogies, not even remote, between homosexual unions and God’s plan for marriage and the family.’”
“The Christian community and its Pastors are called to welcome with respect and sensitivity persons with homosexual inclinations, and will know how to find the most appropriate ways, consistent with Church teaching, to proclaim to them the Gospel in its fullness. At the same time, they should recognize the genuine nearness of the Church – which prays for them, accompanies them and shares their journey of Christian faith – and receive the teachings with sincere openness,” reads the letter.
The letter reads that God “ neither blesses nor can He bless sin,” adding, “For the aforementioned reasons, the Church does not have, nor can it dispose of, the power to bless unions of persons of the same sex in the sense understood above.”
According to the Associated Press, the response from the Vatican “was an apparent reference to the German church, where some bishops have been pushing the envelope on issues such as priestly celibacy, contraception and the church’s outreach to gay Catholics after coming under pressure by powerful lay Catholic groups demanding change.”
The note pleased many social conservatives while it angered liberal Catholics. What is your opinion of the statement from Pope Francis?