An LGBT+ Catholic advocacy group has insisted that same-sex relationships are “divinely inspired” and said many priests will ignore the Vatican’s ban on blessings for gay couples.
There was widespread disappointment among LGBT+ Catholics on Monday (15 March) when the Vatican ruled that the Catholic Church cannot bless same-sex unions as God “cannot bless sin”.
New Ways Ministry, which advocates for LGBT+ justice and inclusion within the Catholic Church, blasted the ruling as “disappointing”.
Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, said the decision is “an impotent one because it won’t stop the movement to bless such couples”.
He said the Church’s ban on blessings will “actually encourage Catholics in the pews and the many Catholic leaders who are eager for such blessings to happen to work harder in their support – and blessing – of same-sex couples”.
This decision changes nothing other than motivating more Catholics to support same-gender couples.
DeBernardo continued: “Though Rome has now spoken on this issue, what the Vatican doesn’t realise is that the Catholic faithful are not satisfied with the answer that they gave.
“Catholic people recognise the holiness of the love between committed same-sex couples and recognise this love as divinely inspired and divinely supported and thus meets the standard to be blessed.
“They recognise that God has already blessed these unions, and that a ritual is simply a recognition of God’s blessing,” he added.
Catholic worshipers have ‘already expressed their support’ for LGBT+ people
DeBernardo went on to argue that priests in many parishes are “already celebrating such blessings” and that Catholics will “continue to find creative ways to bless the couples they love and support”.
“If priests and pastoral ministers no longer feel they can perform such a blessing, the Catholic laity will step in and perform their own rituals, gestures, and words of support. The fact that this discussion is well underway ensures that it will continue. The toothpaste is out of the tube and it can’t be put back inside.”
DeBernardo said many Catholics “have already expressed their support of same-sex couples, and they will continue to do so”.
“This decision changes nothing other than motivating more Catholics to support same-gender couples.”
The Vatican’s ruling came Monday in the form of an explanatory note from the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith after a query was put forward to church leaders on whether clergy can offer blessings to same-sex couples.
The note – signed by Spanish Jesuit Luis Ladaria Ferrer and archbishop Giacomo Morandi, and approved by Pope Francis – argued that same-sex unions are “not ordered to the Creator’s plan”.
The Vatican insisted that God loves all of his children and they are more important to him than the sins they commit.
However, the note said God “does not and cannot bless sin”.
The news has come as a disappointment to the global LGBT+ community. Many had hoped that the Catholic Church’s approach would shift when Pope Francis became pope in 2013 – but no such change has materialised.