BREAKING: Catholic Church Authorises Priests To Officiate Same-sex Marriages

Pope Francis formally permitted Roman Catholic priests to bless same-sex couples on Monday, in a significant shift in the church’s approach to LGBTQ+ people.

The blessings may be carried out providing they are not part of regular Church rituals or liturgies, nor at the same time as a civil union, according to a Vatican document approved by the pope.

The latest ruling fleshes out the opening the pope made to blessing same-sex couples last October and marks a shift away from a 2021 ruling from the Vatican doctrine office which barred any blessings saying God “cannot bless sin.”

 Since July 2023, the doctrine department has been led by Cardinal Victor Manuel Fernandez, an Argentinian prelate and ally of Francis, who has stuck a different tone to his predecessors.

“When people ask for a blessing, an exhaustive moral analysis should not be placed as a precondition for conferring it,” the declaration, authored by Cardinal Fernandez and another official, states. “The grace of God works in the lives of those who do not claim to be righteous but who acknowledge themselves humbly as sinners, like everyone else.”

The new ruling says it is opening “the possibility of blessings for couples in irregular situations and for couples of the same sex” although says it is leaving decisions to “the prudent and fatherly discernment of ordained ministers.”

James Martin, a Jesuit priest who ministers to gay Catholics, described the latest move as a “major step forward in the church’s ministry to LGBTQ people,” writing on X that it “recognizes the deep desire in many Catholic same-sex couples for God’s presence in their loving relationships.”

The pope’s attempts to shift the church’s approach to LGBTQ Catholics began in 2013, when, in reply to a reporter’s question about gay clergy, he said: “Who am I to judge?”

Francis has indicated his support for the civil recognition of same-sex couples, and sought to move the Vatican away from some of the harsh language it has used in the past about gay people.

The pope has also offered his support to a nun from the United States, Jeanine Gramick, who has ministered to gay Catholics for years. She had previously been censured by the Vatican but recently met with Francis, who described her as a “valiant woman.”

While the pope has not changed the church’s opposition to gay marriage nor has he changed Catholic sexual teachings, he has sought to emphasise a pastoral and sensitive approach, which is having a significant impact on LGBTQ Catholics.


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