The 266th Pope of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, has said that though same-s3x marriages cannot be officially recognised as marriage in the Catholic Church, Catholic priests would be open to giving their blessings to same-s3x unions.
The Pope made the suggestion in a letter published on Monday by the Vatican where he responded to several questions sent to him by a group of cardinals from Dubia who asked him for clarity on the issue and issues related to Catholic Church practices, according to Vatican News.
Pope Francis maintained that the church only recognises marriage as a union between a man and a woman, but could open the door for blessings of individuals in same-s3x unions, as “pastoral charity” requires patience and understanding, and that priests should not become judges “who only deny, reject and exclude”.
The Cardinals had asked the Pope for clarification regarding the assertion that the widespread practice of blessing same-s3x unions is in accordance with Revelation and the Magisterium.
In his response, Pope Francis said, “The Church has a very clear understanding of marriage: an exclusive, stable, and indissoluble union between a man and a woman, naturally open to procreation. Only this union can be called “marriage.” Other forms of union realize it only in “a partial and analogous way” (Amoris Laetitia 292), so they cannot be strictly called “marriage.”
“It is not just a matter of names, but the reality we call marriage has a unique essential constitution that requires an exclusive name, not applicable to other realities. It is undoubtedly much more than a mere “ideal.”
“For this reason, the Church avoids any type of rite or sacramental that might contradict this conviction and suggest that something that is not marriage is recognized as marriage.
“However, in our relationships with people, we must not lose the pastoral charity, which should permeate all our decisions and attitudes. The defence of objective truth is not the only expression of this charity; it also includes kindness, patience, understanding, tenderness, and encouragement. Therefore, we cannot be judges who only deny, reject, and exclude.
“Therefore, pastoral prudence must adequately discern whether there are forms of blessing, requested by one or more persons, that do not convey a mistaken concept of marriage. For when a blessing is requested, it is expressing a plea to God for help, a supplication to live better, a trust in a Father who can help us live better.
“On the other hand, although there are situations that are not morally acceptable from an objective point of view, the same pastoral charity requires us not to simply treat as “sinners” other people whose guilt or responsibility may be mitigated by various factors affecting subjective accountability (Cf. St. John Paul II, Reconciliatio et paenitentia, 17).
“Decisions that may be part of pastoral prudence in certain circumstances should not necessarily become a norm.
That is, it is not appropriate for a Diocese, a Bishops’ Conference, or any other ecclesial structure to constantly and officially enable procedures or rituals for all kinds of matters, because not everything that “is part of a practical discernment in particular circumstances can be elevated to the level of a rule” as this “would lead to an intolerable casuistry” (Amoris laetitia, 304).
Canon law should not and cannot cover everything, nor should Episcopal Conferences with their varied documents and protocols claim to do so, as the life of the Church flows through many channels other than normative ones.”