Confusion with marriage must be ruled out

Catholic Church allows blessing for homosexual couples

Vatikanstadt - A bang in the Vatican: in future, priests will also be allowed to bless homosexual and unmarried couples. The Vatican has "expanded and enriched" the understanding of what constitutes a blessing in light of Pope Francis' pastoral ideals, Prefect Fernandez wrote.

Published  on 18.12.2023 at 14:57  – 

Homosexual couples can now also be blessed in the Catholic Church. The Vatican's Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith published a statement on Monday, according to which clergy are allowed to bless unmarried and homosexual couples. In the text entitled "Fiducia supplicans" (German: Das flehende Vertrauen), it is emphasised that there must be no confusion with a marriage. Furthermore, a clergyman may not give the blessing during a church service.

The declaration of the religious authority was published in several languages in the Vatican on Monday. It bears the signature of Cardinal Victor Fernandez, prefect of the authority for the doctrine of the faith, and was expressly authorised by Pope Francis.

Church has "expanded and enriched" understanding of blessing

In the text, Fernandez emphasised that the Church has "broadened and enriched" its understanding of what a blessing is in light of Pope Francis' pastoral ideals. With this further developed understanding of blessing, it is possible "to bless couples in irregular situations and couples of the same sex without officially confirming their status or changing the Church's long-standing teaching on marriage in any way".

As recently as February 2021, the Vatican's religious authority announced that blessings of homosexual couples were not possible in the Catholic Church. It is "not permitted to give a blessing to relationships or even stable partnerships that involve sexual practice outside marriage (i.e. outside an indissoluble union of a man and a woman that is in itself open to the transmission of life), as is the case with unions of persons of the same sex", it said in an explanatory note on the cancellation of the blessings. According to current Catholic doctrine, it is not a sin to have homosexual feelings. However, same-sex intimate acts are "not intrinsically right". The living out of sexuality is reserved for marriage, which can only be entered into by a man and a woman.

A majority of the Synodal Path of the Church in Germany had spoken out in favour of the possibility of blessings for homosexual couples. In November, Bishop Karl-Heinz Wiesemann of Speyer called on the pastoral staff of his diocese to bless remarried and homosexual couples. (cbr/KNA)