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Pope Francis denounces 'hypocrisy' of critics of blessings for same-sex couples

Pope Francis (pictured in December) has denounced criticisms of same sex couples being blessed by Catholic clergy as 'hypocrisy" in an interview with an Italian magazine. File Photo by Stefano Spaziani/UPI
Pope Francis (pictured in December) has denounced criticisms of same sex couples being blessed by Catholic clergy as 'hypocrisy" in an interview with an Italian magazine. File Photo by Stefano Spaziani/UPI

Feb. 7 (UPI) -- Pope Francis has denounced criticisms of the blessing of same-sex couples by Catholic clergy as "hypocrisy."

"I don't bless a 'homosexual marriage,' I bless two people who love each other, and I also ask them to pray for me," he told the Italy's Credere magazine.

"No one is scandalized if I give a blessing to an entrepreneur who perhaps exploits people, which is a very serious sin. Whereas they are scandalized if I give it to a homosexual -- this is hypocrisy," Francis said.

In December, the Vatican declared that priests are allowed to bless same-sex couples but only as personal blessings, not as formal recognitions of same-sex marriages.

"A brief prayer preceding this spontaneous blessing, the ordained minister could ask that the individuals have peace, health, a spirit of patience, dialogue and mutual assistance," the Dicastery for the Doctrine of faith said in a declaration in December.

Pope Francis (pictured during Easter 2023) has denounced criticisms of same sex couples being blessed by Catholic clergy as 'hypocrisy" in an interview with an Italian magazine. File Photo by Stefano Spaziani/UPI
Pope Francis (pictured during Easter 2023) has denounced criticisms of same sex couples being blessed by Catholic clergy as 'hypocrisy" in an interview with an Italian magazine. File Photo by Stefano Spaziani/UPI

While Francis has expressed that the church should be more open to LGBTQ couples, he still opposes same-sex marriage.

In October, Francis said that a marriage is an "exclusive, stable and indissoluble union between a man and a woman, naturally open to begetting children."

Pope Francis delivers a message from the balcony of St Peter's basilica after the Easter Sunday Mass in 2023 at the Vatican. In a recent magazine interview, the pontiff denounced criticisms of the blessing of same-sex couples by Catholic clergy as "hypocrisy."

Photo by Stefano Spaziani/UPI
Pope Francis delivers a message from the balcony of St Peter's basilica after the Easter Sunday Mass in 2023 at the Vatican. In a recent magazine interview, the pontiff denounced criticisms of the blessing of same-sex couples by Catholic clergy as "hypocrisy." Photo by Stefano Spaziani/UPI

Francis has faced pushback from within the church for advocating a more lenient view of same sex couples.

In November, Francis removed Bishop Joseph Strickland from his position in the Tyler, Tex., diocese after an investigation into comments Stickland had made opposing the discussion of a more accepting attitude towards the LGBTQ community.