Pope Francis corrects comment homosexuality, says blessing same-sex unions not the sacrament

Pope Francis corrected his questioner about the Catholic Church’s stance toward same-sex couples in a rare interview, explaining he allowed the blessings of individual people but not a same-sex union.

In a conversation with “60 Minutes,” the Pope was asked about a seeming change to Vatican policy when he approved the blessings of Catholics in same-sex unions, as the Church recognizes the sacrament of marriage as an indissoluble union between a man and a woman.

“Last year you decided to allow Catholic priests to bless same-sex couples,” CBS “60 Minutes” anchor Norah O’Donnell said. “That’s a big change. Why?”

“No, what I allowed was not to bless the union. That cannot be done because that is not the sacrament. I cannot. The Lord made it that way,” the Pope said, in remarks translated into English. “But to bless each person, yes. The blessing is for everyone. For everyone. To bless a homosexual-type union, however, goes against the given right, against the law of the Church. But to bless each person, why not? The blessing is for all. Some people were scandalized by this. But why? Everyone! Everyone!”

Francis sent a letter to two conservative cardinals in October, suggesting that such blessings could be offered under some circumstances if those receiving the blessing did not confuse the ritual with the sacrament of marriage. Initial media reports at the time appeared to conflate the news with a change that meant the Church now endorsed same-sex marriage, but the Pope simply meant all people were worthy of such blessings.

See also  Kyari challenges Dangote to name NNPC officials who own blending plant in Malta

A blessing is “a prayer invoking God’s power and care upon some person, place, thing or undertaking,” according to the Church Catechism.

The news still made waves around the world, as some gay Catholics viewed it as a welcome alteration after previously feeling alienated by Church teachings. Some Catholic bishops around the world pushed back on the notion, however, and traditional Catholics in the U.S. have also criticized the Pope for his remarks.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops published guidance for the U.S. faithful last year after the release of “Fiducia supplicans,” the document which approved pastoral blessings given to remarried individuals and people in same-sex relationships under strict parameters, saying, “the Church’s teaching on marriage has not changed.”

See also  Tinubu begs Nigerians to shelve planned hardship protest

Last year, Pope Francis criticized governments around the world that criminalize homosexuality, saying it was not a crime while remaining a sin.

O’Donnell noted his past words about homosexuality, to which Francis replied, “It is a human fact.”

“There are conservative bishops in the United States that oppose your new efforts to revisit teachings and traditions. How do you address their criticism?” O’Donnell asked.

“You used an adjective, ‘conservative.’ That is, conservative is one who clings to something and does not want to see beyond that,” the Pope 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.”

Pope Francis has led the Church since 2013 and rarely conducts on-air interviews. The first Pope to hail from the Americas, he has made worldwide headlines at times through his public addressing of social issues, as well as his reform efforts over the Church’s sexual abuse scandals.

Leave a Reply