Pope FrancisPope Francis

The Vatican defends same-sex blessings, citing ‘prudence’

The Catholic Church’s recent approval of blessings for some “irregular” and same-sex couples was not a deviation from its doctrine, the Vatican said on Thursday, while calling for “prudence” in some countries.

The Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith issued this clarification after some bishops, especially in Africa, protested against its December document that allowed priests to bless such couples in some situations.

Some conservative Catholics, mainly in Africa, saw this document as a reversal of the Church’s stance on gay marriage and homosexuality, which it rejects.

But the Vatican reaffirmed its document on Thursday, saying it was “clear and definitive about marriage and sexuality.”

The Dicastery wrote: “We cannot doctrinally distance ourselves from this Declaration or regard it as heretical, contrary to the Church’s Tradition or blasphemous.”

ALSO READ: Pope Francis has authorized Roman Catholic priests to offer blessings to couples in same-sex relationships

The December document warned that priests could only bless same-sex couples, divorced or unmarried people in “non-ritualised” settings, and never in connection with weddings or civil unions.

The Vatican’s move faced strong opposition in Malawi, Nigeria, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The Dicastery said that various bishops’ conferences around the world had “understandable” reactions to the move, and “emphasised the need for a longer period of pastoral reflection.”

It said that in some cases, blessing same-sex couples would be unsuitable.

The Dicastery said: “If there are laws that punish the mere act of identifying as a homosexual with prison and sometimes with torture and even death, it is obvious that a blessing would be imprudent.”

It asked for “prudence and attention to the ecclesial context and to the local culture” in implementing the measure.

It said that in several countries, “there are strong cultural and legal challenges that need time and pastoral strategies that go beyond the short term.”

Pope Francis, 87, who was elected in 2013, has insisted on welcoming all the faithful, including the homosexual and LGBTQ communities, to the Church.

But his efforts have faced strong resistance from its traditional and conservative wing.


By dworldgist.com

Peter Ritdung Wakkias is a Nigerian blogger and programmer, known for being the CEO of www.dworldgist.com and www.gospelrespec.com. He holds a Higher National Diploma in Computer Science from Isa Mustapha Agwai 1 Polytechnic Lafia. Based in Lafia, Nasarawa State.

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