Pope Francis says Catholic priests can’t bless same-sex unions because God ‘cannot bless sin’

pope francis 2020
Pope Francis delivers a homily during Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica in The Vatican in November 2020.

  • A decree from Pope Francis on Monday said Catholic priests can’t bless same-sex unions.
  • A Vatican statement said “any form of blessing that tends to acknowledge their unions” was illicit.
  • The note from the Church comes months after the pope said he supported civil union laws.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Catholic priests can’t bless same-sex unions because God “cannot bless sin,” the Vatican announced Monday.

“The blessing of homosexual unions cannot be considered licit,” said the Vatican statement, which was approved by Pope Francis. “There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family.”

God “never ceases to bless” each person, the Vatican added.

“But he does not and cannot bless sin,” the decree continued. “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.”

Gay people “who manifest the will to live in fidelity to the revealed plans of God as proposed by Church teaching” can still be blessed by priests and the Catholic Church. But the Church said “any form of blessing that tends to acknowledge their unions” was illicit.

The note – which was released by the church’s orthodoxy office in response to a question about same-sex unions – comes just months after Pope Francis said he supported a civil union law for same-sex couples in an interview for a documentary.

“Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family,” he said in October 2020. “They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it.”

“What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered,” Francis said. “I stood up for that.”

The Catholic Church has historically been opposed to giving LGBT people equal rights under the law, and Francis’ remarks at the time were groundbreaking.

But the Vatican partially walked back those remarks weeks later, saying they were taken out of context and “led to confusion.”

According to the Vatican, Pope Francis supported governments instituting same-sex marriage laws, as opposed to the decision being a “doctrine of the Church.”

About 70% of Americans surveyed for a national poll said they supported same-sex marriage, according to an American Values Survey published in October 2020.

There was also strong support for same-sex marriage when broken down by religious denomination. Nearly 80% of Hispanic Roman Catholics surveyed and about 67% of white Catholics said they supported it.

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