The Vatican on Monday announced that
Roman Catholic priests cannot bless same-sex marriages.
According to the AP, Pope Francis
approved the statement from the Congregation of the Doctrine of the
Faith, the Vatican's orthodoxy office.
The office issued a two-page statement
in response to a question on whether Catholic priests could bless
“The presence in such relationships
of positive elements, which are in themselves to be valued and
appreciated, cannot justify these relationships and render them
legitimate objects of an ecclesial blessing, since the positive
elements exist within the context of a union not ordered to the
Creator's plan,” the statement said.
“[God] does not and cannot bless sin:
He blesses sinful man, so that he may recognize that he is part of
his plan of love and allow himself to be change by him,” it said.
Pope Francis has previously said that
gay people are children of God and “have the right to be in a
Conservatives applauded the church's
“The Vatican left nothing on the
table,” Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League and a vocal
opponent of LGBT rights, wrote on his group's website. “The door
has been slammed shut on the gay agenda.”
League's Bill Donohue opposes gay marriage because marriage is not
Donohue has previously said that Pope
Francis' welcoming tone wouldn't change the church's position on
homosexuality or marriage.
New Ways Ministry, which advocates for
greater LGBT acceptance in the Catholic church, said that some
priests would ignore the Vatican's position.
“Catholic people recognize the
holiness of the love between committed same-sex couples and recognize
this love as divinely inspired and divinely supported and thus meets
the standard to be blessed,” New Ways Ministry Executive Director
Francis DeBernardo said in a statement.
Sister Simone Campbell of NETWORK Lobby
for Catholic Social Justice said that it was still possible for the
church to bless individuals involved in a same-sex union.
“You can bless the individuals [in a
same-sex union], you just can't bless the contract,” she said. “So
it's possible you could have a ritual where the individuals get
blessed to be their committed selves.”