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Blessings for Same Sex Couples Approved by Pope Francis

Historical Moment for the Catholic Church in the 21st Century

By: Ava Bowers

On Monday 18th December 2023, Pope Francis approved Catholic Priests blessing same sex couples for the first time in Vatican history. The perceived acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community was short lived however, as the Pope continued his declaration. The blessings, though monumental to Catholic history, come with their own restrictions. The doctrine was clear that though same sex couples could receive blessings, these were not blessings for marriage or civil unions. 

The Declaration “Fiducia Supplicans”, on the pastoral meaning of blessings, began by defining blessings, who could give and receive them. The doctrine is clear that its intentions are to avoid confusion, subsequently using distinct wording to express their approval of blessing same sex couples but this act in no way validating same sex marriages or civil unions. Blessings are to be given to all those who desire, to act as a guide.

Photo by: Caio at Pixabay

The response to the Declaration has resulted in a range of reactions, some feeling welcomed and relieved by the progression within the Catholic Church, some feel the step isn’t great enough, whilst others feel the change would go against their faith’s practices.

Various media outlets have reported an outcry of disappointment at the small step in progression from the Catholic Church. However, it is not their disappointment the Vatican is responding to. Instead, they are focused on those who share the Catholic faith who are offended that same sex couples would be granted blessings, stating it would go against the Church’s practices. To appease this rhetoric, they have assured that these blessings would be very short, lasting no more than 15 seconds, and in no way indicate or approve of same sex marriages. 

Shortly after the Vatican’s publication, Tomasz Peta, Archbishop of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana in Kazakhstan, and Auxiliary Bishop, Athanasius Schneider, made their own statement disapproving the declaration, stating that blessing same sex couples would “directly and seriously contradict Divine Revelation and the uninterrupted, bimillennial doctrine and practice of the Catholic Church”.

A firm step towards acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community within the Catholic faith, but one that people are divided on. Those that were in opposition to same sex couples receiving blessings claimed it was a PR stunt to encourage inclusivity but had an ulterior motive to earn more money from more people. Whether this is true or not is another debate. Nevertheless, a movement in the right direction for inclusivity and equality for the LGBTQ+ community, with hope for more acceptance in the future.


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