Pope hints at openness to blessing same-sex couples

same-sex couples

Pope Francis has hinted he could be open to blessing same-sex couples provided certain conditions are met.

The blessings must not be confused with the wedding ceremonies of heterosexuals, and decisions as to whether to bless these couples should be decided on a case-by-case basis he said.

Francis shared his views on several hot theological topics after five cardinals, Raymond Burke, Walter Brandmüller, Juan Sandoval Íñiguez, Robert Sarah and Joseph Zen Ze-kiun. gave him a series of dubia (formal questions).

The topics are among those being discussed at the synod, which started in Rome on Wednesday.

The dubia and Francis’s response to them were sent to the cardinals in July.

However, the Vatican published the responses on Monday after the cardinals made their initiative public, saying they are unsatisfied with Francis’ answers.

“A single formulation of a truth will never be properly understood if it stands alone, isolated from the rich and harmonious context of the whole of Revelation.”

Scripture and tradition also need to be interpreted, he said.

Same-sex couples blessings

Francis’s current views on blessing same-sex couples has moved from the Vatican doctrinal office’s explicit ruling about the topic in 2021.

In his July 2023 response to the dubia, Francis seems open to the idea, but urged caution.

“Pastoral prudence must … properly discern whether there are forms of blessing, requested by one or more people, that do not convey a misconception of marriage” he wrote.

He stressed the Church’s ruling that the sacrament of matrimony must be between only a man and woman, and open to procreation.

He wrote that the Church should avoid any other ritual or sacramental rite that contradicted this teaching.

At the same time, “pastoral charity should permeate all our decisions and attitudes” he said.

“We cannot be judges who only deny, reject and exclude.

“Because, when a blessing is requested, it is a request for help from God, a plea to be able to live better, a trust in a Father who can help us to live better.”

This is true even if some acts were “objectively morally unacceptable”.

Discernment necessary

Same-sex blessings should not become the norm. Nor should Church jurisdictions such as dioceses and national bishops ‘conferences provide blanket approval for them, Francis wrote.

A certain amount must be left to pastors’ discernment.

He does not endorse some German hopes for official, liturgical blessings of same-sex couples.

Commentators say he appears more supportive of Belgian bishops’ moves on this subject.


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