Historically, the Catholic church has not always been the most accepting of LGBTQ+ issues. But after a letter from Pope Francis became public on same-sex couples, it appears that significant change may be on the way for the church.
The Holy Letter
This week, Pope Francis made a stunning public statement implying that Catholic priests may soon be able to bless same-sex unions.
The Vatican has released a letter that the Pope wrote in response to five cardinals who had written to him in July. His response has since made headlines around the world.
Cardinals Seeking Clarity
These cardinals, hailing from the US, Europe, Africa, and Asia, had sent a letter to the Pope with five questions they pressed him to answer.
These questions came in the form of ‘dubia’, which translates to ‘doubts’ but more broadly refers to questions that seek clarification.
The cardinals implored the Pope to clarify the church’s position on five subjects. Though the Pope responded at length to all five questions, the question of same-sex unions spurred the most controversy and debate.
A Sign of Change?
The second dubium asked if the church could “deviate from principle” and accept same-sex unions as a “possible good.”
Pope Francis’ response to this question has surprised many; some have suggested that this may signal a reversal of the church’s official position on gay marriage.
The Pope Speaks
First, the Pope affirmed that “the Church has a very clear understanding of marriage: an exclusive, stable, and indissoluble union between a man and a woman.”
But this was followed by the call for a more nuanced approach to same-sex unions.
Pope Francis’s response also advocated for “pastoral charity in our relationships with people.”
And that this charity on behalf of Catholic clergymen should include “kindness, patience, understanding, tenderness, and encouragement” and exclude the urge to “deny, reject, or exclude.”
Call for Blessings
In particular, his comments on blessings given by the church have got people talking.
Since blessings are often a “plea for God’s help” and “trust in a Father who can help us to live better,” individuals should not be treated as mere “sinners”.
He ended his response to the question by suggesting that while these blessings “should not necessarily become a norm,” they should be regarded on an individual basis as “The life of the Church flows through many channels other than normative ones.”
Paving the Way
Some believe these statements will pave the way for a new approach to LGBTQ+ relationships in the Catholic church. It may even allow priests to bless same-sex marriages based on “pastoral prudence.”
A Major Change
The Pope’s response has signaled an about-turn in the Vatican’s stance on gay marriage and LGBTQ+ issues.
Just two years ago, in early 2021, the Vatican released an official statement. Officials insisted that the church would not bless same-sex marriages as God “does not and cannot bless sin.”
However, this new announcement has given hope to countless members of the Catholic church who identify as gay or otherwise LGBTQ+ and have felt excluded and marginalized by past declarations by the church.
Recognition of Love
One of these people is Francis de Bernardo, the executive director of New Ways Ministry, an advocacy group for LGBTQ+ in the Catholic church.
De Bernardo has spoken approvingly of the Pope’s announcement, as these blessings “imply that the church does indeed recognize that holy love can exist between same-gender couples.”
De Bernardo also acknowledges that the holy recognition of same-sex love is “not completely what LGBTQ+ Catholics would want” but still signals an “enormous advance towards[…]more comprehensive equality.”
Pope Francis’ response to the dubia has generated much debate from inside and outside the church.
But to some, this newest announcement was unsurprising since the Pope has previously made waves when discussing these issues.
In 2020, he referred to gay people as ”Children of God” who “have the right to be in a family,” referring to same-sex unions.
The Debate Goes On
Of course, after centuries of conservative tradition, it will be a long time before these matters are concluded in the Catholic church.
But what do you think? Has the Pope’s newest public statement affected your views on same-sex marriage and the Catholic church?
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The post Pope’s Shock Move – Blessings for Same-Sex Unions? The Catholic Church at a Historic Crossroads! first appeared on Wealthy Living.
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