The Vatican on Monday decreed that the Catholic Church cannot bless homosexual unions since God “cannot bless sin”, the Associated Press has reported. The Vatican’s Orthodoxy Office made the statement while responding to a question regarding the same on Monday.
The question asked whether the Catholic clergy have the authority to bless same-sex marriages. The answer, which was approved by Pope Francis, was in the negative.
“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 Vatican said in its response.
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 changed by him,” the response said.
The Vatican stated that “since blessings on persons are in relationship with the sacraments, the blessing of homosexual unions cannot be considered licit. This is because they would constitute a certain imitation or analogue of the nuptial blessing invoked on the man and woman united in the sacrament of Matrimony, while in fact “there are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family”.”
“The declaration of the unlawfulness of blessings of unions between persons of the same sex is not therefore, and is not intended to be, a form of unjust discrimination, but rather a reminder of the truth of the liturgical rite and of the very nature of the sacramentals, as the Church understands them,” the statement added.
The statement goes on to state that “the blessing would manifest not the intention to entrust such individual persons to the protection and help of God, in the sense mentioned above, but to approve and encourage a choice and a way of life that cannot be recognized as objectively ordered to the revealed plans of God.”
The response has disheartened some within the Catholic Church. Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, predicted that the teaching would be ignored, including by some within the Church.
“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,” he is reported to have said in a statement.