Same-sex marriage: Bless the people, not the union, Pope Francis says

(Pope Francis. Image credit: Facebook)

Following the uproar that has emanated from the declaration by the Vatican on blessing same-sex couples, Pope Francis has decided to further clear the air on the issue.

The religious leader noted that the Catholic Church is not reversing its teaching after the document released by Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith went viral.

He said, “I would like briefly to underline two things. The first is that these blessings, outside of any liturgical context and form, do not demand moral perfection in order to be received; the second, that when a couple approaches spontaneously to ask for them, one does not bless the union, but simply the people who have required it together.

“Not the union, but the people, naturally taking into account the context, the sensibilities, and the places where one lives and the most appropriate ways to do it.”

While speaking at a session where cardinals gathered at the Vatican’s Clementine Hall on Friday, he addressed the declaration, which was published on December 18, 2023.

He contined, “One should neither provide for nor promote a ritual for the blessings of couples in an irregular situation. The task of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith is to help the Roman Pontiff and the bishops to proclaim the gospel throughout the world.

“This is done by promoting and safeguarding the integrity of Catholic teaching on faith and morals. It does this by drawing upon the deposit of faith and seeking an ever deeper understanding of it in the face of new questions.”

Christianity Nigeria had earlier reported that the declaration received backlash from several Christians including the Catholic Bishop Conferences of Nigeria, American preachers such as renowned cleric Franklin Graham, among others.

The octogenarian continued, “The intention of ‘pastoral and spontaneous blessings’ is to tangibly demonstrate the closeness of the Lord and of the Church to all those who, finding themselves in various situations, ask for help to continue — sometimes to begin — a journey of faith.”

Aside from Pope Francis who is clearing the air on the same-sex blessing declaration, the prefect for the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith who authored the declaration, Cardinal Victor Fernandez, had spoken on the issue.

To make his stand known, he released a five-page statement, nothing that the declaration document was clear and definitive about marriage and sexuality.

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