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Vatican bans the Catholic Church from blessing same-sex unions

The Vatican furthers its #NoHomo stance after declaring that the Catholic Church cannot bless same-sex unions, as God “does not bless sin.”

So it turns out, the Catholic Church is still a smidge bit homophobic. Also turns out the pope might be a catholic too – who knew.

In response to questions raised by inclusive pastors and parishes about whether priests can bless gay couples, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), the Vatican’s doctrinal watchdog, published a decree on Monday saying that such blessings “cannot be considered licit.”

Pope Francis Vatican
Image: The Deccan Herald

The response was approved by Pope Francis, who also endorsed same-sex civil unions last year in an interview for a documentary film. His recent approval has hit the hopes of gay Catholics who believed Pope Francis might be the linchpin behind creating a more inclusive environment.

“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 response said.

As such, 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 document did not make clear who sent the question to the CDF. Still, several bishops and theologians, particularly in Germany and Austria, have supported the blessing of gay unions in recent years.

Despite the pope asking bishops to develop projects and proposals “so that those who manifest a homosexual orientation can… fully carry out God’s will in their lives,” Catholic teaching has remained stubborn on marriage remaining between a man and a woman.

But, of course, there’s nothing more godly than protecting and enabling a culture of historical child abuse. Huh.

As same-sex unions are not a part of such plans, these relationships cannot be legitimately blessed. Unsurprisingly, gay Catholics have decried the announcement, saying that such attitudes will inevitably force Queer people away from the faith.

“The Vatican does what the Vatican does, and sometimes the Vatican really hurts people whose lives they are unfamiliar with,” a theologian at St. Joseph’s College who is gay, Jason Steidl, told the New York Times“Pastorally, it’s a devastating pronouncement for L.G.B.T.Q. people.” 

While the document did not make clear who originally sent the question to the CDF, several theologians and bishops in areas such as Germany and Austria, have come forward in recent years to support the blessing of same-sex unions.

In a statement, the head of the German bishops’ conference, Bishop Georg Bätzing, said that the new document would be considered into the German discussion, but hinted that the fight was only beginning.

“There are no easy answers to questions like these,” Bishop Bätzing said, adding that the German church wasn’t only looking at the church’s current moral teaching, but also the development of doctrine that considers the actual reality of modern Catholics.

Other issues that bishops in Germany and Austria have been for consideration include celibacy, contraception and, of course, the church’s outreach to gay Catholics.

Many have taken to Twitter to vent the obvious frustrations with this catholic backflip, including Elton John.

Elton called out the “hypocrisy” of the Vatican investing millions of dollars into the 2019 biopic, Rocketman, which Elton says is “a film which celebrates my finding happiness from my marriage to David??”

The Vatican invested about 1 million euros, an estimated 1.5 AUD, in Rocketman despite the film including a gay male sex scene.