THE Catholic Church does not have the power to bless same-sex unions despite their “positive elements,” the Vatican said Monday, March 15.
The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith (CDF) issued a formal response to a question about whether the Church has the authority to bless gay unions, answering “negative.”
Signed by Cardinal Luis Ladaria, prefect of the doctrinal office, the explanatory note said that blessings are not allowed because what is to be blessed needs to 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.”
“For this reason, it is not licit to impart a blessing on relationships, or partnerships, even stable, that involve sexual activity outside of marriage, as is the case of the unions between persons of the same sex,” the CDF said.
“Furthermore, since blessings on persons are in relationship with the sacraments, the blessing of homosexual unions cannot be considered licit. This is because they would constitute a certain imitation or analogue of the nuptial blessing invoked on the man and woman united in the sacrament of Matrimony, while in fact ‘there are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family,’” it added.
Pope Francis, lauded for taking an unprecedented welcoming tone towards the LGBT community, approved the note.
However, the CDF maintained that the statement was “not intended to be a form of unjust discrimination,” but rather a “reminder of the truth of the liturgical rite and of the very nature of the sacramentals, as the Church understands them.”
In a separate explanatory note, the CDF said that the decision on same-sex unions “in no way detracts from the human and Christian consideration in which the Church holds each person.”
It added that the Church could bestow blessings “to individual persons with homosexual inclinations who manifest the will to live in fidelity to the revealed plans of God as proposed by Church teaching.”
Last year, Pope Francis shocked Catholic clergies when he called for civil unions for same-sex couples in the documentary “Francesco.”
“They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it,” the pontiff said, referring to same-sex couples. “What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered.”
However, the Vatican clarified that the statement was taken out of context and did not indicate a change in Church doctrine on same-sex marriage.