Pope defends Vatican’s ‘misunderstood’ stance on same-sex blessings

Pope Francis (Image: Wiki)
Pope Francis (Image: Wiki/Long Thiên)

Pope Francis has defended last December’s historic Vatican ruling allowing blessings for same-sex couples.

Speaking in a TV interview on Sunday (14 January 2024), the head of the Roman Catholic Church said the decision had been “misunderstood.”

The declaration on 18 December has been met with widespread opposition, especially in countries where gay sex is illegal, where many priests and bishops have refused to implement it.

Despite the new position on same-sex blessings, the Catholic Church still teaches that, while same-sex attraction is not sinful, gay sex is.

“Ugly conclusions”

Publicly addressing the ruling for the first time, Pope Francis said: “Sometimes decisions are not accepted, but in most cases when decisions are not accepted, it is because they are not understood.

“The danger is that if I don’t like something and I put it in my heart, I become a resistance and jump to ugly conclusions.”

Speaking via video link to the Che Tempo Che Fa programme on Italy’s Channel 9, The Pope furthermore continued: “This is what happened with these latest decisions on blessings for all.”

He elsewhere said: “The Lord blesses everyone. But then people have to enter into a dialogue with the blessing of the Lord and see the path that the Lord proposes. [The Church] have to take them by the hand and lead them along that path and not condemn them from the start.”

Last week, African bishops rejected the declaration en masse in a letter signed by Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo Besungu of Kinshasa, Congo.

“Unions of persons of the same sex are contrary to the will of God and therefore cannot receive the blessing of the Church,” the letter stated.

The declaration, known as Fiducia Supplicans, or Supplicating Trust, was approved by Pope Francis on 18 December 2023.

Weeks later, the Vatican moved to calm dissent by issuing a five-page statement clarifying the declaration was not “heretical” or “blasphemous.”

The statement issued on 4 January 2024 explained that the declaration did not amount to “a justification of all their [same-sex couples’] actions,” – essentially, gay sex – “and they are not an endorsement of the life that they lead.”

It added that it would be “imprudent” to bless same-sex couples and individuals in countries where being LGBTQ is dangerous or punishable by death.

Main image credit: Wiki/Long Thiên

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