In a historic decision, the Vatican announced on Monday (18) that it will now allow priests to give blessings to same-sex couples. This decision, contrary to the Catholic Church’s doctrine condemning homosexual unions, is outlined in a document authorized by Pope Francis and released on Monday.
According to the directive, Roman Catholic priests can now administer blessings to same-sex couples if they choose to do so. Priests can also refuse to perform the ritual, but they are prohibited from preventing “the entry (into churches) of individuals in any situation where they may seek God’s help through a simple blessing.”
The blessing, however, cannot resemble a wedding ceremony and must not take place during the regular liturgies of the Church. It represents a small but real step toward progress.
The document announcing the new decision states that the Catholic Church still considers the union between same-sex couples as an “irregular” act, and the doctrine has not changed. However, it also asserted that the authorization of blessings is a “sign that God welcomes everyone.”
In October, during a speech, Pope Francis had already indicated that the church might start allowing blessings for homosexual couples in the near future.
‘We cannot be judges who only prohibit.'”– pontiff, to Época Maganize.
In August, he stated that transgender women are “daughters of God,” and the church cannot treat them differently. In January, Francis criticized countries that criminalize homosexuality, stating that “homosexuality is not a crime.”
Despite these advancements, Catholic LGBTQ+ groups have been urging the pontiff for more changes for over a decade, while conservative ones complained that his changes have been too drastic.