OAN’s Brooke Mallory
1:30 PM – Tuesday, October 3, 2023
Pope Francis hinted at a reversal of the official Vatican position by allowing some Catholic priests to bless same-sex nuptials.
On Monday, Francis noted several important qualifications, such as the need for case-by-case consideration and the fact that they should not be seen as equivalent to heterosexual wedding ceremonies.
Back in 2021, the Vatican said that it could not support same-sex relationships because “God cannot bless sin.” The pope did, however, hint that there may be some exceptions to this attitude on Monday.
“We cannot be judges who only deny, reject, and exclude,” he said in a letter to five cardinals who asked for clarity on the issue.
Although Vatican doctrine has not changed, some LGBTQ+ Catholics have seen Francis’ remarks as a significant step toward ending the isolation and judgment they claim to face inside the church.
Francis made the comments in a letter that was released on Monday by the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith. Five conservative cardinals from Asia, Europe, Africa, the United States, and Latin America gave a list of “dubia,” which means “doubts” or “inquiries.”
They pressed him to uphold traditional Catholic doctrine on same-sex unions and other contentious topics like women’s ordination.
In response, Francis stated that there may be “forms of blessing, requested by one or more persons” that might be given sometimes. The clergy were urged to practice “pastoral charity,” which he defined as “kindness, patience, understanding, tenderness, and encouragement.”
The pope continued, saying that these unions “do not convey a mistaken concept of marriage,” however, they also “should not necessarily become a norm.”
This focus on permitting these partnerships on a “pastoral” rather than official basis may be a reference to a number of German Catholic priests who have recently publicly blessed same-sex weddings in a dispute with their diocese.
LGBTQ+ Catholics and other progressives hailed his comments as a major victory for the cause of “religious equality.”
“Though the Vatican’s latest statement about same-gender couples does not provide a full-fledged, ringing endorsement of blessing their unions, the document significantly advances Pope Francis’ work to include and affirm LGBTQ+ people,” said Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, an organization that uplifts LGBTQ+ Catholics.
The 86-year-old pope, who has recently struggled with a variety of health challenges, is no stranger to progressive causes. He has established himself as a strong voice on everything from the immigrant crisis to climate change-related topics.
When challenged about LGBTQ+ matters and priests’ sexual orientations many months into his pontificate, Francis responded, “Who am I to judge?”
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