On Monday, The Vatican declared that the Catholic Church would not bless same-sex unions.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, the Vatican’s orthodoxal authority, released a decree this Monday which states, “But he [God] does not and cannot bless sin…,” in reference towards the blessing of same-sex unions.
Not only does the Catholic Church declare them a sin, but the article also stated that blessings on these unions were “not licit” because such unions are not analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family, regardless if those unions had positive elements.
The Associated Press reported that the decree, “added that blessing a same-sex union could give the impression of a sacramental equivlance to marriage. ‘This would be erroneous and misleading.’”
However, the decree heavily stressed that the statements contained within are not meant to be discriminatory or hostile towards LGBTQ+ people within the Catholic community. It urges the continual acceptance and love towards LGBTQ+ people within the Church.
The decree emphasizes and cements their decision for the statement as, “A reminder of the truth of the liturgical rite and of the very nature of the sacramentals, as the Church understands them.”
Written by Cardinal Luis F. Ladaria, prefect of the congregation, the decree was approved by Pope Francis as a formal response towards the issue. The New York Times reported that the question was raised by pastors and parishes who sought to be more welcoming and inclusive of same-sex couples.
The timing of the decree suggests that it was specifically directed towards the German Church, as they are the main cause of the question being raised.
The Associated Press also reported that the article, “disheartened advocates for LGBT and threw a wrench in the debate within the German church, which has been at the forefront of opening discussion on hot-button issues such as the church’s teaching on homosexuality.”
However, Bishop Georg Bätzing, the head of the German bishops’ conference, said the decree, “would be incorporated into the German discussion, but he suggested that the case was by no means closed.”
Yet, Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, disagrees. He says that the Vatican’s statement was the final nail in the coffin for discussions concerning the recognition of homoseuxal unions or marriage in the Catholic Church. He states the Vatican left nothing for further discussion and is non-negotiable to be reconsidered.
Regardless of the Vatican’s official statement, public figures within the Catholic community predict priests and parishes will ignore the decree and continue to conduct blessings on same-sex unions, albeit in more secrecy than before.
Such figures include Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, a Catholic organization which preaches acceptance of LGBTQ persons in the Church and Rev. Bryan Massingale.
“Priests who want to engage in pastoral outreach to the gay and lesbian community ‘will continue to do so, except that it will be even more under the table … than it was before,’” Rev. Bryan Massingale said to ABC News.
One group of Catholic Priests refuse to hide their blessings under the shroud of secrecy as they have recently spoken out saying they are vowing to bless same-sex unions in defiance of the Vatican’s stance on same-sex union blessings, as reported by the Hill.
Meanwhile, disgruntled social media users, frustrated by the statements made in the decree, rushed to make posts containing their own comments and hot takes on the issue, with a handful pointing out the declaration of same-sex unions as sin as “hypocritical.”
A large amount of these tweets point out the Catholic Church’s hypocrisy, which is in reference towards the Vatican’s history of turning a blind eye towards pedophilia and child molestation within the Church.
The move caused much confusion and chatter among those on social media, but the Vatican seems to be standing by the decision.
Updated at 8:34 p.m. March 19. The Cardinal’s name was misspelled as Ladria. It has been changed Ladaria.