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International News: Pope approves priests blessings for same-sex couples

Posted: Monday, December 18, 2023. 10:57 am CST.

By Zoila Palma Gonzalez: Today, Pope Francis formally approved allowing priests to bless same-sex couples, with a new document explaining a radical change in Vatican policy by insisting that people seeking God’s love and mercy shouldn’t be subject to “an exhaustive moral analysis” to receive it.

According to the Associated Press, earlier this year, the Pope sent a letter to 2 conservative cardinals where the Pontiff suggested such blessings could be offered under some circumstances if they didn’t confuse the ritual with the sacrament of marriage.

However, the new document repeats that condition and elaborates on it, reaffirming that marriage is a lifelong sacrament between a man and a woman. 

In addition, the document stresses that blessings in question must be non-liturgical in nature and should not be conferred at the same time as a civil union, using set rituals or even with the clothing and gestures that belong in a wedding.

It also states that requests for such blessings for same-sex couples should not be denied full stop. 

“Ultimately, a blessing offers people a means to increase their trust in God,” the document said. 

“The request for a blessing, thus, expresses and nurtures openness to the transcendence, mercy, and closeness to God in a thousand concrete circumstances of life, which is no small thing in the world in which we live,” it added.

It stressed that people in “irregular” unions of extramarital sex — gay or straight — are in a state of sin. But it said that shouldn’t deprive them of God’s love or mercy. 

“Even when a person’s relationship with God is clouded by sin, he can always ask for a blessing, stretching out his hand to God,” the document said.

 

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