On Monday March 15, the Vatican announced that they would not bless same-sex unions. This announcement came via a formal response from the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith. The two-page answer explained the Catholic church believes homosexual unions are not part of God’s plan for marriage, since He designed marriage to be a covenant between a man and woman to create new life.
“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 response said.
Homosexual couples may be recognized civilly, but they will not be recognized religiously by the Catholic Church.
Pope Francis said that homosexual people should be allowed to be in a family, per a documentary in October 2020, but he has argued against such unions in the past when he was still the Archbishop of Buenos Aires.
The Vatican responded to the documentary later, claiming that his comment did not indicate support for same-sex marriage.
However, he has drawn a line between homosexual orientation and homosexual marriage.
“If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?” Pope Francis said in 2013 in his book On Heaven and Earth.
According to the Vatican News, the news regarding the ban on blessings for such unions are not meant to judge those who identify as LGBTQ+, who “must be welcomed with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.”
The responses to this declaration flooded in shortly after the announcement. Some were in support of the decision; Ben Shapiro tweeted, “In which we learn that the Catholic Church believes in Catholicism,” while others disregarded the announcement because of the Catholic Church’s sexual history, which Senator Morgan Hunt discussed in her tweet.
Jamie Manson, president of Catholics for Choice and a member of the LGBTQ community, said the Vatican wanted to clear up any confusion about same-sex unions after the documentary. The edict made sense to her based on previous Catholic teachings.
“Because so many teachings about sexuality in the church depend on the main teaching here, and that has to do with natural law and the idea that sex must always create life, if the church in any way deviates from that idea, it has to change its position on a lot of issues, including contraception, including even women priests.”
Francis DeBernardo, the executive director of the gay Catholics group New Ways Ministry, said that this news was not startling.
“It is not surprising, but still disappointing, that the Vatican has responded ‘no’,” DeBernardo said.
Jim Bretzke, a priest, author and professor of theology at John Carroll University in Ohio, said the announcement matched the tradition of the Catholic Church, but individuals are different.
“The Church explicitly says gay men and women can be blessed,” Bretzke said. “But that the domestic union of a gay couple should not be liturgically blessed, lest people misinterpret this blessing as a form of Catholic marriage lite.”
The president of the U.S.-based Catholic League, Bill Donohue, said this distinction drew a line between homosexual tendencies versus homosexual actions.
“It is one thing to say all persons possess equal dignity in the eyes of God,” Donohue said. “It is quite another to say that whatever they do is acceptable to God. Human status and human behavior are not identical.”