Catholic leaders in the U.S. and abroad are divided over Pope Francis’ recent decision to bless same-sex couples.
In a declaration titled “Fiducia Supplicans,” issued by the Vatican last month, “a broadening and enrichment of the classical understanding of blessings, which is closely linked to a liturgical perspective.”
“It is precisely in this context that one can understand the possibility of blessing couples in irregular situations and same-sex couples without officially validating their status or changing in any way the Church’s perennial teaching on marriage,” stated the Catholic Church leadership in part.
“This Declaration is also intended as a tribute to the faithful People of God, who worship the Lord with so many gestures of deep trust in his mercy and who, with this confidence, constantly come to seek a blessing from Mother Church.”
Despite the decision to bless same-sex marriages, the church’s stance on marriage as solely between a man and a woman remains.
The New York Times reported that the declaration was met with backlash from various Catholic leaders.
“It really is a landmark and milestone in the church’s relationship with L.G.B.T.Q. people that can’t be overestimated or overstated,” Francis DeBernardo, the executive director of New Ways Ministry, a Maryland group that has supported gay Catholics since the 1970s, said.
“This declaration is proof that church teaching can — and does — change.”
Meanwhile, Rev. Gerald Murray, the pastor at Holy Family Church in New York and an outspoken conservative, denounced the pope’s decision.
“I will never confer a blessing upon two men or two women who are involved in a sexual relationship that is by its nature gravely sinful,” Murray said. “The pope has placed priests who uphold Catholic doctrine about the immorality of sodomy and adultery into a terrible position.”
According to Fox News, the decision was also denounced by Catholic leaders across the world.
“In order to avoid any pastoral confusion and ambiguity as well as not to break the law of our country which forbids same-sex unions and activities, and while listening to our cultural heritage which does not accept same-sex relationships, the Conference guides that the Declaration from the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith of December 18th 2023 concerning the blessing of same-sex couples be taken as for further reflection and not for implementation in Zambia,” the Africa-based Zambia Episcopal Conference said.
Bishop Athanasius Schneider, who serves as an auxiliary bishop in Astana, Kazakhstan, sharply criticized the declaration on social media.
“The fact that the document does not give permission for the ‘marriage’ of same-sex couples should not blind pastors and faithful to the great deception and the evil that resides in the very permission to bless couples in irregular situations and same-sex couples,” Schneider wrote. Such a blessing directly and seriously contradicts Divine Revelation and the uninterrupted, bimillenial doctrine and practice of the Catholic Church.
According to a 2019 Pew Research survey, over six in 10 Catholics in the U.S. said they supported same-sex marriage.
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Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.
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