Catholic Church Approves Blessings For Same-Sex Couples (But With Caveats) 

“God Welcomes All” … under ‘certain conditions’.
Image: Getty

The Vatican has officially approved blessings for same-sex couples.  

While the landmark decision still feels eons behind the progress of the secular world, same-sex relationships are a hotly contested issue within the Catholic Church, and so, the approval of blessings, even with caveats, is a huge step forward.  

The document, approved by Pope Francis, sees the Vatican back “the possibility of blessings for couples in irregular situations (including unmarried couples or divorcees) and for couples of the same sex”. 

“One should not prevent or prohibit the Church’s closeness to people in every situation in which they might seek God’s help through a simple blessing,” it said. 

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For those unaware, a blessing is generally carried out by a priest, where they call for God’s goodwill and compassion for their subject. 

While conservative Catholics are strongly opposed to blessing same-sex couples, some priests in Europe have already begun blessing people regardless of their orientation, reports 

However, there are limitations to the Vatican’s new ruling. Blessings are allowed, as long as they are not in contexts related to civil unions or weddings, showing the Church digging its steely heels in on the topic of marriage. 

In fact, the document re-states the Church’s subscription to the belief that marriage is between a man and woman. 

“This blessing should never be imparted in concurrence with the ceremonies of a civil union, and not even in connection with them,” the document said. 

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While it’s not the broad acceptance members of the LBGT community and their allies had hoped for, some believe that this concession could lead to greater open-mindedness within religious communities.  

It also shows a marked change in a short time, with a previous 2021 decision stating that they could not bless people in same-sex relationships because God cannot “bless sin”.  

The decision is a run-on effect from a global meeting on the future of the Catholic Church, where social issues like same-sex relationships and divorcees were debated.  

The decision, laid out in a document called Fiducia Supplicans — On the Pastoral Meaning of Blessings, included an introduction that said it was a “broadening and enrichment” of the Vatican’s blessings. It is also said to be “based on the pastoral vision of Pope Francis”.  

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Pope Francis has previously spoken of his views on same-sex marriages. When he took office in 2013 he said, “If someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has good will, then who am I to judge him?” 

It’s a very small step, but the blessing of same-sex couples offers a veil of hope for religious members of the LGBT community and allies. 

“Finally!! Fresh air is coming through the windows of the Catholic Church. God bless Pope Francis,” one wrote on Twitter.  

And yet, the decision still falls woefully short for others, who want to see change at scale, to meet the pace of the progress in the rest of the world.  

“I would celebrate it if it wasn’t 2023 where this should be everywhere… and not a Headline but a standard,” another wrote on Twitter. 

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