On Monday, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith mentioned that although gay relationships may encompass “positive elements,” Catholic clergy can’t bless same-sex relationships as it stated God “cannot bless sin.” This authority handles questions related to catholic orthodoxy and hence published the decree which was approved by Pope Francis.
"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 decree reads.
This announcement was declared just a few months after Pope Francis called homosexuals “children of God” and said that they deserve access to civil unions.
“Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family. They are children of God and have a right to a family," Francis said in October, in comments captured by the documentary “Francesco.” "What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered."
This statement by the Pope was hailed and it stunned a lot of people as the Pope exhibited an extremely progressive attitude towards same-sex relationships unlike any of his predecessors.
In 2013 when asked about the allegedly gay priest, Pope Francis famously said: "Who am I to judge gay people?"
However, this document establishes the traditional Catholic teachings that do not display an attitude of complete acceptance towards same-sex marriages. The Vatican tried to clarify that the Pope’s past comments were misinterpreted and he did not vocalize support for same-sex marriages. The Vatican’s secretary of state in a note to the church’s ambassadors and bishops around the world said that Francis’ remarks did not impact official church doctrine and that they had been “edited and published as a single answer without proper contextualization, which has led to confusion.”
The decree published in seven languages stated, 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.” It implied that as per the catholic teachings marriage is considered as an eternal bond between a man and a woman.
The Vatican tried to argue in its decree that its teachings don’t constitute “unjust discrimination”—even though it argues that gay people don’t deserve to have the same rights as straight people.
It further stated that the clergy can still bless gay individuals, as long as they “manifest the will to live in fidelity to the revealed plans of God as proposed by Church teaching.”
Several on the internet condemned this announcement and voiced their opinion against it.
Progressive Catholic groups expressed similar concerns on this issue.
Charlotte Clymer, from Catholics for Choice, tweeted: "Being LGBTQ is not a choice. LGBTQ people are wonderfully made by God. We are born this way and perfectly so, regardless of what the Vatican or any other religious authority might claim."
Francis DeBernardo, the executive director of gay Catholic group New Ways Ministry, called the statement "not surprising, but still disappointing".