Pope Gives ‘Offensive’ Ruling About Same-Sex Marriage — Here’s The 411

Written by Wes Walker on March 15, 2021

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Pope Francis has been no stranger to controversy with his various public statements. Some statements offend the traditionalists, others offend general society. When he gave his formal statement on same-sex marriage, someone was certain to be offended.

Was his answer a good and wise one, or do you think he is trying to step carefully through a political minefield and throw both sides a proverbial bone?

For a point of reference, here is some past reporting of ours on when he addressed this very issue. As you can see from the headlines, he has been all over the map with this topic, and the public was hoping to get some clarity on where he stood.

Wonder no more. (Well, sort of.)

Here’s what we know now.

The Vatican decreed Monday that the Catholic Church won’t bless same-sex unions since God “cannot bless sin.”

The Vatican’s orthodoxy office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, issued a formal response Monday to a question about whether Catholic clergy have the authority to bless gay unions. The answer, contained in a two-page explanation published in seven languages and approved by Pope Francis, was “negative.”

…“The presence in such relationships of positive elements, which are in themselves to be valued and appreciated, cannot justify these relationships and render them legitimate objects of an ecclesial blessing, since the positive elements exist within the context of a union not ordered to the Creator’s plan,” the response said.

God “does not and cannot bless sin: He blesses sinful man, so that he may recognize that he is part of his plan of love and allow himself to be changed by him,” it said.

Francis has endorsed providing gay couples with legal protections in same-sex unions, but that was in reference to the civil sphere, not within the church. –AP

Another report gives some more nuance as to the balance he was trying to strike between acceptance of the people and denuciation of the act.

The document argued that the ruling is ‘not intended to be a form of unjust discrimination, but rather a reminder of the truth of the liturgical rite and of the very nature of the sacramentals, as the Church understands them’.

The Vatican said Francis was ‘informed and gave his assent’ to the ruling, which gave a verdict of ‘negative’ to the question of whether such unions could be blessed.

Francis has always opposed gay marriage, but his 2019 comments that ‘what we have to create is a civil union law’ caused a sensation in the Catholic world.

The remarks emerged last year in a documentary in which he also said: ‘Homosexual people have the right to be in a family… they are children of God’.

…The document argued that the ruling is ‘not intended to be a form of unjust discrimination, but rather a reminder of the truth of the liturgical rite and of the very nature of the sacramentals, as the Church understands them’.

The Vatican said Francis was ‘informed and gave his assent’ to the ruling, which gave a verdict of ‘negative’ to the question of whether such unions could be blessed.

Francis has always opposed gay marriage, but his 2019 comments that ‘what we have to create is a civil union law’ caused a sensation in the Catholic world.

The remarks emerged last year in a documentary in which he also said: ‘Homosexual people have the right to be in a family… they are children of God’. –DailyMail

How do we get these seemingly-incompatible pieces of Francis’ views on the topic to fit together?

One way might be that The Pope’s views have changed over time and he has drawn a line in the sand, morally speaking. But that would be hard to fit with his other statements.

Another way might be that is speaking as though he has two different understandings of morality in mind: liturgical and general.

He is perfectly willing to say that the CHURCH does not and cannot bless same-sex relationships as they conflict with the moral teaching of the Church, and the greater divine intent of the purpose of marriage.

He is willing to defend the historical and anthropological meaning as well…

‘Every person needs a male father and a female mother that can help them shape their identity,’ he said in criticism of adoption by gay couples.

He added that laws which equated same-sex relationships to marriages would be ‘an anthropological regression’.

Francis has always voiced opposition to gay marriage, saying that marriage should only be between a man and woman.

‘Marriage is a historic word,’ he told French sociologist Dominique Wolton in a 2017 book of interviews. ‘Always among human beings, and not only in the Church, it has been between a man and a woman. You can’t just change that like that.’ –DailyMail

But to denounce the homosexual act itself as something that is objectively morally wrong in all cases and for all people? He stops short of doing that.

Such passionate denunciations are reserved for things that really bother him, like free-market economies, the enforcement of national borders (Vatican City’s own wall notwithstanding), and the dire sin of failing to become an eco-fascist.

Here are a few of the OTHER ways in which he has found his way into the news. Note how often in this list he doesn’t merely condemn morality that is out-of-step with liturgical practice and custom but thunders against immorality writ large.

Also, take note of the times in this list where the Pope breaks with either biblical and liturgical moral precedent. It’s enough to make one wonder what *exactly* that moral compass of his has been centered upon.

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