Pope Francis is open to the catholic blessings of same-sex couples, provided that these are not confused with traditional marriage ceremonies between men and women. This announcement is expected to be a significant turning point within the global catholic church.
Several conservative cardinals have questioned the Pope and the church’s views on same-sex marriages. In an open response, Pope Francis states that the church maintains that marriage is “an exclusive, stable, and indissoluble union between a man and a woman”, and he does not want “something that is not a marriage to be recognized as marriage”.
However, he opens the possibility for catholic representatives to bless homosexual couples in the future, referring to the “pastoral love” that he believes “must permeate all our decisions and attitudes”.
“The defense of objective truth is not the only expression of this care, which also includes kindness, patience, understanding, tenderness, and encouragement. Therefore, we cannot be judges who solely deny, reject, or exclude”, he writes.
“Therefore, with pastoral caution, it is necessary to adequately discern whether there are forms of blessings, requested by one or more persons, that do not convey a mistaken concept of marriage. For when you ask for a blessing, you express a prayer for help from God, a plea to live better, trust in a Father who can help us live better”, continues the Pope.
Must not become the norm
Francis further writes that he does not want blessings of homosexual couples to be “elevated to a norm level” and that “no ecclesiastical structure” should officially “enable” the blessings. However, he also adds that “the Church’s life flows through many channels, beyond the normative”.
Regarding the question of whether women should be ordained as priests within the Catholic Church, the Pope refers to the ban introduced in 1994 by John Paul II and believes that this “must be accepted by all” and never “publicly contradicted”. However, he also notes that it is not a “dogmatic definition” and that this issue “can be subject to studies” in the future.
Currently, same-sex marriages are conducted in several Catholic dioceses in Germany, and the Pope’s announcement is welcomed by LGBTQ groups and more liberal Catholic representatives. In contrast, conservative Catholic representatives are more critical and have expressed concern over recent years about the Church’s liberalization, which they believe risks leading to more divisions and conflicts.