WelCom April 2021
The Catholic Church does not have the power to bless same-sex unions, the Vatican office responsible for doctrine has said.
Answering the question, ‘does the Church have the power to give the blessing to unions of persons of the same sex?’ the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) responded, ‘negative’.
In an accompanying note, the CDF explained that blessings are sacramentals, and ‘consequently, in order to conform with the nature of sacramentals, when a blessing is invoked on particular human relationships, in addition to the right intention of those who participate, it is necessary that what is blessed be objectively and positively ordered to receive and express grace, according to the designs of God inscribed in creation, and fully revealed by Christ the Lord’.
‘Therefore, only those realities which are in themselves ordered to serve those ends are congruent with the essence of the blessing imparted by the Church,’ the CDF said.
‘For this reason, it is not licit to impart a blessing on relationships, or partnerships, even stable, that involve sexual activity outside of marriage (that is, outside the indissoluble union of a man and a woman open in itself to the transmission of life), as is the case of the unions between persons of the same sex.’
The CDF did acknowledge there were ‘positive elements’ in these relationships ‘which are in themselves to be valued and appreciated’. It added however that these elements ‘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 ruling and note were approved for publication by Pope Francis, who said it was ‘not intended to be a form of unjust discrimination, but rather a reminder of the truth of the liturgical rite’.
Last October, Pope Francis said in a documentary that he thought same-sex couples should be allowed to have ‘civil unions’.
Sources: CNA Catholic News Agency, BBC News