Pope Francis clarifies same-sex blessings, takes swing at closed-minded conservatives

Pope Francis
Pope Francis

Pope Francis is continuing his tradition of leaving both sides frustrated when it comes to stances on the LGBTQ+ community, but this time, he's taking conservatives down a notch in the process.

Over the weekend, the pope sat down for a rare interview on 60 Minutes, touching on a number of topics, including clarifying his stance on blessing same-sex unions.

"What I allowed was not to bless the union," he said. "That cannot be done because that is not the sacrament. I cannot. The Lord made it that way. But to bless each person, yes. The blessing is for everyone."

His comments come just months after a controversial decision by the Vatican to allow priests to bless same-sex couples, so long as it doesn't resemble a wedding. This left some people frustrated that the Catholic Church was still positioning LGBTQ+ couples as inferior to heterosexual couples and others furious that they weren't being shunned outright.

Pope Francis has frequently caused this kind of disruption, pushing for LGBTQ+ people to be treated as people while also still categorizing same-sex relationships as a sin. He previously declared there to be no place for gay clergymen within the church. Yet last year, he made it permissible for trans Catholics and children of same-sex couples to be baptized in the church and spoke out against laws criminalizing homosexuality.

He acknowledged the latter during Sunday's interview, agreeing that being gay isn't a crime, but rather, "It is a human fact."

Perhaps one of the most interesting moments in the interview came when he had fairly scathing words for conservative bishops in the United States who have criticized his stances.

"You used an adjective, 'conservative.' That is, 'conservative' is one who clings to something and does not want to see beyond that," he said. "It is a suicidal attitude, because one thing is to take tradition into account, to consider situations from the past, but quite another is to be closed up inside a dogmatic box."

Earlier this year, Pope Francis also took the time to point out the hypocrisy of those who act "scandalized" by the idea of blessing LGBTQ+ people when they don't have that same energy when the church extends blessings to other people considered sinners under Catholic teachings.

"Nobody gets scandalized if I give my blessings to a businessman who perhaps exploits people, and this is a very grave sin," he said. "But they get scandalized if I give them to a homosexual."