While Pope Francis has expressed support for legal civil unions, he signed off on a Vatican statement released Monday decreeing the Roman 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, urged Catholic clergy to treat gay people with “respect and sensitivity” but ruled that blessing their unions would “approve and encourage a choice and a way of life that cannot be recognised as objectively ordered to the revealed plans of God.”
DailyMail.com noted the pope stirred controversy last year by expressing support for civil unions, but he never endorsed religious unions.
Pope John Paul II condemned same-sex marriage as a threat to the fabric of society, counseling Catholic lawmakers that they have a “moral duty” to oppose same-sex marriage.
“Attacks on marriage and the family, from an ideological and legal aspect, are becoming stronger and more radical every day. Anyone who destroys this fundamental fabric causes a profound injury to society and provokes often irreparable damage,” he wrote.
The Vatican document released Monday said same-sex unions “are not intended as part of God’s plan.”
“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,” the Vatican statement said.
The Vatican said the pope endorsed the statement.
But Francis hasn’t always been as clear on the issue. In 2019, he backed civil union laws, and in 2020 he said “homosexual people have the right to be in a family … they are children of God.”
Catholic teaching holds that homosexuality is “intrinsically disordered.” Previous documents from the Vatican’s doctrine office warned legal approval would mean endorsing “deviant behavior.”
“In order to conform with the nature of sacramentals, when a blessing is invoked on particular human relationships, in addition to the right intention of those who participate, it is necessary that what is blessed be objectively and positively ordered to receive and express grace, according to the designs of God inscribed in creation, and fully revealed by Christ the Lord,” the document reads.
“For this reason, 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.”
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