Pope Francis celebrate mass top top the chance of 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines, in St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican, Sunday, march 14, 2021. (Tiziana Fabi/Pool photo via AP)
Pope Francis celebrates mass on the occasion of 500 year of Christianity in the Philippines, in St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican, Sunday, march 14, 2021. (Tiziana Fabi/Pool photograph via AP)

ROME (AP) — The Vatican asserted Monday the the Catholic Church won’t bless same-sex unions since God “cannot bless sin.”

The Vatican’s orthodoxy office, the Congregation because that the theory of the Faith, approve a formal response to a question about whether Catholic clergy have the government to bless happy unions. The answer, included in a two-page explanation released in 7 languages and also approved by Pope Francis, to be “negative.”

The note distinguished in between the church’s welcoming and blessing of gay people, which it upheld, but not their unions. It argued that such unions room not component of god’s plan and that any kind of sacramental recognition of them can be perplexed with marriage.

The note automatically pleased conservatives, disheartened proponents for LGBT Catholics and threw a wrench in the debate within the German church, which has been at the head of opening discussion on hot-button problems such the church’s teaching on homosexuality.

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Francis DeBernardo, executive director of brand-new Ways Ministry, which advocates for better acceptance the gays in the church, predicted the Vatican position would be ignored, consisting of by some Catholic clergy.

“Catholic human being recognize the holiness the the love in between committed same-sex couples and also recognize this love as divinely inspired and also divinely supported and thus meets the standard to be blessed,” he stated in a statement.

The Vatican holds that gay civilization must be treated through dignity and also respect, however that happy sex is “intrinsically disordered.” Catholic teaching says that marriage is a lifelong union in between a man and woman, is part of god’s plan and is intended for the benefits of creating brand-new life.


Since happy unions no intended come be part of that plan, they can not be blessed by the church, the file said.

“The presence in such relationships of hopeful elements, which are in us to it is in valued and appreciated, cannot justify this relationships and render them legit objects of one ecclesial blessing, due to the fact that the positive facets exist within the paper definition of a union no ordered to the Creator’s plan,” the response said.

God “does not and also cannot bless sin: the blesses sinful man, so the he may recognize that he is part of his plan of love and allow himself to be changed by him,” it said.

Francis has endorsed giving gay couples v legal protections in same-sex unions, yet that was in recommendation to the polite sphere, no within the church. Those comments were made during a 2019 interview through a mexican broadcaster, Televisa, yet were censored by the Vatican until they appeared in a documentary critical year.

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While the documentary fudged the context, Francis to be referring come the place he took when he to be archbishop of Buenos Aires. At the time, Argentine lawmakers to be considering providing gay marriage, which the Catholic Church opposes. Then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio instead supported offering legal protections because that gays in secure unions v a so-called “law of polite cohabitation.”

Francis told Televisa: “Homosexual civilization have the ideal to it is in in a family. They are children of God.”

Speaking of families with gay children, the said: “You can’t absent someone the end of a family, nor do their life miserable for this. What we have to have is a civil union law; that means they room legally covered.”

In the new paper and an accompanying unsigned article, the Vatican claimed questions had been raised around whether the church have to bless same-sex unions in a sacramental method in current years, and after Francis had insisted ~ above the require to much better welcome gays in the church.

It was an evident reference come the German church, whereby some bishops have been pushing the envelope on issues such together priestly celibacy, contraception and the church’s outreach to gay Catholics after comes under press by an effective lay Catholic teams demanding change.



In a statement, the head of the German bishops’ conference, Bishop Georg Bätzing, said the new record would be included into the German discussion, yet he argued that the situation was by no way closed.

“There room no simple answers come questions like these,” he said, adding that the German church wasn’t only looking at the church’s existing moral teaching, but likewise the advancement of doctrine and the actual fact of Catholics today.

Bill Donohue, chairman of the conservative Catholic League, praised the decision together a decisive, non-negotiable “end the story” explanation by the Vatican.

“The Vatican left nothing on the table. The door has actually been slammed closeup of the door on the gay agenda,” Donohue created on the League’s website, calling the file “the most decisive rejection of those efforts ever written.”

In the article, the Vatican stressed the “fundamental and decisive distinction” between gay individuals and also gay unions, noting the “the an adverse judgment on the blessing of union of persons of the very same sex walk not suggest a referee on persons.”

But it explained the rationale because that forbidding a blessing of together unions, note that any type of union that entails sexual task outside of marriage cannot it is in blessed because it is not in a state that grace, or “ordered come both receive and also express the an excellent that is pronounced and given through the blessing.”

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And it included that blessing a same-sex union might give the impression of a kind of sacramental equivalence come marriage. “This would certainly be erroneous and also misleading,” the post said.

Esteban Paulon, chairman of the Argentine Federation the Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transsexuals, stated the paper was proof the for all of Francis’ words and gestures express outreach to gays, the institutional church i will not ~ change.

“Saying the homosexual practice — openly living sexuality — is a sin bring away us ago 200 years and promotes dislike speech the unfortunately in Latin America and Europe is top top the rise,” Paulon said. “That transforms into injuries and even deaths, or policies which encourage discrimination.”

A comparable note of exasperation to be echoed in the Philippines, Asia’s largest Roman Catholic nation, wherein gay civil liberties leader Danton Remoto stated it just wasn’t precious it come fight an old institution. “I keep on telling LGBTQIs come just have their civil unions done,” Remoto said. “We carry out not need any stress anymore from this church.”

Other vital commentators listed the Catholic book of Blessings includes blessings that can be bestowed on everything from new homes and factories come animals, sporting events, seeds before planting and also farm tools.

Juan Carlos Cruz, a Chilean survivor of sex-related abuse who is gay and close to Francis, stated the paper was the end of step with Francis’ pastoral approach and was tone deaf to the needs and also rights of LGBT Catholics.

“If the Church and also the CDF perform not breakthrough with the human being ... Constantly rejecting and also speaking negatively and also not putting priorities where they have to be, Catholics will continue to flee,” he warned.

In 2003, the very same Vatican office authorize a comparable decree saying the the church’s respect for gay people “cannot command in any method to approval that homosexual behavior or to legal recognition of homosexual unions.”

Doing so, the Vatican reasoned then, would certainly not only condone “deviant behavior,” however create an equivalence to marriage, i beg your pardon the church holds is one indissoluble union between man and woman.

Sister Simone Campbell, executive director that the U.S.-based NETWORK Lobby for Catholic social Justice and also an support for better LGBTQ consists in the church, stated she to be relieved the Vatican statement wasn’t worse.

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She said she interpreted the statement as saying, “You can bless the people (in a same-sex union), you just can’t bless the contract.”

“So it’s feasible you could have a ritual where the individuals obtain blessed come be your committed selves.”


AP authors David Crary in new York, Kirsten Grieshaber in Berlin, Almudena Calatrava in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and also Jim Gomez in Manila, Philippines, added to this report.