Pope Francis Allows Blessing of Same-Sex Couples

December 19, 2023

… approved by Pope Francis, it will be possible to bless same-sex couples but without any type of ritualization or offering the impression of a marriage.

Vatican News outlining the main takeaways from a new Doctrine of the Faith, approved by Pope Francis, that permits the blessing of same-sex couples but still maintains Catholic doctrine that marriage is between a man and a woman.

Why It Matters: The Catholic Church released a new document on Monday discussing “the pastoral meaning of blessings.” The document distinguishes a shift to the Catholic Church’s doctrine as it permits any two people in a relationship to request and receive a blessing from an ordained minister. However, the Vatican emphasizes that “this gesture of pastoral closeness must avoid any elements that remotely resemble a marriage rite” (such as the blessing not taking place during a civil union ceremony, nor should those being blessed be wearing clothing typically associated with a wedding).

Important Context: Pope Francis, elected in 2013, has vocalized support for same-sex couples throughout his time at the Vatican, such as commenting to The Associated Press earlier this year that “being homosexual isn’t a crime.”

Reaction from the Catholic Church:The significance of this news cannot be overstated,said Francis DeBernardo of New Ways Ministry, an organization that supports LGBTQ+ Catholics. Others have disagreed with the announcement. “The Vatican’s statement is, in my view, the most unfortunate public announcement in decades,” said University of Notre Dame theologian Ulrich Lehner, adding that the statement poses “an invitation to schism.

Read More:

Doctrinal declaration opens possibility of blessing couples in irregular situations (Vatican News)

The full document: Declaration Fiducia Supplicans – On the Pastoral Meaning of Blessings

Pope approves blessings for same-sex couples that must not resemble marriage (The Associated Press)

by Emily Hooker, based in Texas