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The Media Are Lying, Pope Francis Did Not Approve Priests Blessing ‘Same-Sex Relationships’

Pope Francis
Image CreditFDRLST / Canva

Corporate media outlets are running salacious headlines that Pope Francis is now allowing “priests to bless same-sex relationships.” The implication from the media is that the Catholic Church has made a “radical” reversal on its stance that marriage is between one man and one woman. This is factually untrue.

On Monday, the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith released a “Declaration ‘Fiducia Supplicans’ On the Pastoral Meaning of Blessings.” In the declaration, the Vatican first reaffirms that marriage is the “exclusive, stable, and indissoluble union between a man and a woman, naturally open to the generation of children.”

The document also establishes that contrary to media reports, liturgical blessings related to formal Church sacraments can never endorse same-sex unions, which the Catholic Church does not recognize. “[T]he Church does not have the power to confer its liturgical blessing when that would somehow offer a form of moral legitimacy to a union that presumes to be a marriage or to an extra-marital sexual practice,” reads the declaration.

The document does say that individuals, including “same-sex couples,” may receive “spontaneous,” “informal” blessings related to overcoming human sin. “[O]ne should not prevent or prohibit the Church’s closeness to people in every situation in which they might seek God’s help through a simple blessing,” states the document.

This, of course, is not new information. Anyone — irrespective of the types of sin they happen to struggle with — has always been able to receive an informal blessing from a Catholic priest. In other words, the document is a pointless reiteration of already established Church teachings. Indeed, the declaration is being grotesquely misrepresented by the corporate media and leftist Catholics who wish the document had been a reversal of Church doctrine, which, again, it was not.

While the document is theologically sound, many Catholics are calling it a “pastoral nightmare.” Ulrich L. Lehner, a Catholic historian who teaches in the University of Notre Dame theology department, warns that the document’s “imprecise language invites misunderstanding and will sow confusion.”

Lehner explains that “some bishops will use it as a pretext to do what the document explicitly forbids, especially since the Vatican has not stopped them before.” Here, Lehner is referring to a cohort of German priests who have been formally blessing same-sex unions, not simply same-sex attracted individuals, since 2021, without condemnation from the Vatican. “[The document] is, and I hate to say it, an invitation to schism,” wrote Lehner.

The misleading “Declaration On the Pastoral Meaning of Blessings” is on-brand for Francis. As The Federalist’s John Davidson explains, Francis has a history of being “intentionally vague about matters that should be clear-cut, and this vagueness sows confusion. Why would he want to sow confusion? To open up room for change.”

In the case of the “Declaration On the Pastoral Meaning of Blessings,” one must ask what its purpose is in the first place if not to sow chaos and confusion. If Francis cared about upholding Church doctrine and providing necessary clarity on the issue of priests blessing same-sex unions, the Vatican would have given an immediate and direct repudiation of the German priests blessing same-sex unions two years ago, with only a secondary note that, as we already know, individuals who seek God’s grace to avoid sin may be blessed by priests.

The Vatican’s response Monday was wildly delayed, failed to directly address German priests, and focused far more on the already-established fact that same-sex individuals can receive blessings rather than the fact that same-sex unions are contradictory to Church teaching and cannot be blessed by priests. All these things combined have prompted the media to egregiously misrepresent the “Declaration On the Pastoral Meaning of Blessings,” but perhaps that was Francis’ intention.

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