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Recently a lesbian couple who are both priestesses in the Church of England received the first formal blessing of a same-sex partnership in a C of E service. Upon reading this, I thought to myself, at least the Catholic Church has resisted the pressure to bless same-sex partnerships. Apparently that is no longer the case.

Catholic priests can now bless same-sex couples

19 December 2023: ROME (AP) — Pope Francis formally approved letting Catholic priests bless same-sex couples, the Vatican announced Monday, a radical shift in policy that aimed at making the church more inclusive while maintaining its strict ban on gay marriage.

But while the Vatican statement was heralded by some as a step toward breaking down discrimination in the Catholic Church, some LGBTQ+ advocates warned it underscored the church’s idea that gay couples remain inferior to heterosexual partnerships.

The document from the Vatican’s doctrine office elaborates on a letter Francis sent to two conservative cardinals that was published in October. In that preliminary response, Francis suggested such blessings could be offered under some circumstances if the blessings weren’t confused with the ritual of marriage.

Up until this point I thought the Catholic Church viewed homosexuality as “intrinsically disordered” i.e., that such a union is not as God structured creation. Perhaps I am mistaken?

I have no desire to be contentious (although this is a contentious issue for many Christians) but I really want to know the official Roman Catholic position on the blessing of same-sex partnerships. and where does the Roman Catholic Church go from here?

P.S. I asked this question on same-sex marriage in October 2020: What is the official Catholic position on same-sex marriage and same-sex civil partnerships?

P.P.S. I was unable to find a tag about same-sex partnerships so I have created one.

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  • 1
    It might be good to add a date to your headline question (as of Dec. 2023) since the teaching is clearly in the midst of a process of change. Dec 20, 2023 at 15:44
  • Finally, I get to use the "rapidly changing event" post notice. Not that I expect this to change much - unless God intervenes.
    – Peter Turner
    Dec 20, 2023 at 16:43
  • 1
    @Lesley you can make a tag for it regardless of whether there are church blessings for them (Which there are not - no matter what Pope Francis any cardinal or any news outlet says)
    – Peter Turner
    Dec 20, 2023 at 17:04
  • 1
    This is not a rapidly changing event.
    – jaredad7
    Dec 20, 2023 at 17:07
  • 1
    @jaredad7 Indeed. The Church has always taught that sodomy is an intrinsic evil, all the way back at least to Romans 1.
    – Geremia
    Dec 20, 2023 at 21:06

4 Answers 4

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The document Fiducia Supplicans, which is the controversial document in question, in no way legitimizes same-sex unions, nor does it give permission for clergymen to bless same-sex couples if "couple" here is construed to refer to the illicit sexual union, rather than to the persons. We must read the whole document in its entirety in order to glean from it the proper pastoral guidance it seeks to give. Here is the link to the official document

Paragraph 5 states explicitly, referring to a Vatican statement released in 2021, that "the Church does not have the power to impart blessings on unions of persons of the same sex." Furthermore, paragraph 11 states that "since the Church has always considered only those sexual relations that are lived out within marriage to be morally licit, the Church does not have the power to confer its liturgical blessing when that would somehow offer a form of moral legitimacy to a union that presumes to be a marriage or to an extra-marital sexual practice."

Also of great relevance to honest analysis is paragraph 8, which says "blessings have as their recipients: people; objects of worship and devotion; sacred images; places of life, of work, and suffering; the fruits of the earth and human toil; and all created realities that refer back to the Creator, praising and blessing him by their beauty." We ought to analyze whether illicit sexual relationships (homosexual relationships, adulterous relationships, and the like) can belong to any of these categories. Such relationships are not persons, they are not objects of worship, at least not of proper, Catholic worship (they may become idols to those in the world), they are neither sacred images nor places, and they are not fruits of the earth nor human toil. Finally, marriages, properly understood between one man and one woman, indissoluble until death, are created realities that refer back to the Creator. God created marriage in Genesis. But illicit sexual relationships are not created realities, and they do not refer back to the Creator, so illicit sexual relationships cannot be the recipients of blessings.

The controversy truly begins in paragraph 31, which I will quote below in its entirety

  1. Within the horizon outlined here appears the possibility of blessings for couples in irregular situations and for couples of the same sex, the form of which should not be fixed ritually by ecclesial authorities to avoid producing confusion with the blessing proper to the Sacrament of Marriage. In such cases, a blessing may be imparted that not only has an ascending value but also involves the invocation of a blessing that descends from God upon those who—recognizing themselves to be destitute and in need of his help—do not claim a legitimation of their own status, but who beg that all that is true, good, and humanly valid in their lives and their relationships be enriched, healed, and elevated by the presence of the Holy Spirit. These forms of blessing express a supplication that God may grant those aids that come from the impulses of his Spirit—what classical theology calls “actual grace”—so that human relationships may mature and grow in fidelity to the Gospel, that they may be freed from their imperfections and frailties, and that they may express themselves in the ever-increasing dimension of the divine love.

This paragraph makes the claim that couples in irregular situations, including same-sex couples, can receive a blessing, but we cannot construe the word couple here to mean anything other than the individual persons. If couple refers to the illicit sexual relationship, and not to the individuals, it is not a proper recipient of blessing, as outlined in paragraph 8, and the Church would be doing what She has said She has no power to do in paragraphs 5 and 11, not to mention in previous, recent statements from the current Pontiff's magisterium. This paragraph also reiterates that such blessings do not legitimize illicit relationships. It even seems to state that these couples cannot believe themselves to be in a legitimate situation, as it says that those couples who can receive such a blessing "do not claim a legitimation of their own status." If you do claim a legitimation of your own illicit status, this blessing is not for you.

Regarding your question about the official stance of the Catholic Church on homosexuality, it has not changed, and paragraph 4 says so very succinctly, both articulating the official doctrine and stating that it remains firm. "Therefore, rites and prayers that could create confusion between what constitutes marriage—which is the “exclusive, stable, and indissoluble union between a man and a woman, naturally open to the generation of children”[6]—and what contradicts it are inadmissible. This conviction is grounded in the perennial Catholic doctrine of marriage; it is only in this context that sexual relations find their natural, proper, and fully human meaning. The Church’s doctrine on this point remains firm."

Please be wary of any headlines or persons who would seek to claim this document as legitimizing same-sex unions. It is very clear that such unions will always be illegitimate. Those who make such a claim are not merely twisting the document, but actively and directly lying about what it says (or, if they are misinformed through ignorance, they are repeating the lies of those who should know better).

One final note: Catholics can disagree over whether it was prudent to release this letter, given that many progressive and liberal clerics will no doubt seek to claim it for their own wicked ends, but the document does not change anything about Church teaching, nor does it give permission to do something which is immoral. It is very clear that all such blessings may give absolutely no occasion to scandal or confusion regarding the Sacrament of Matrimony.

I hope this helped. I know that it can be confusing when every mainstream media source repeats the exact same lie about the Church. Please let me know if there's anything here that is unclear or needs further explanation. I've read through this document multiple times, and discussed it with many intelligent, traditional Catholics, even including a professional theologian who seemed to agree with my assessment that there's nothing wrong with the document, even in its pastoral recommendations, but that nevertheless it may give occasion for wicked members of the clergy to lie and to do wicked things.

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  • I removed the marriage and same-sex marriage tags because the focus of this question is about blessing same-sex partnerships.
    – Lesley
    Dec 20, 2023 at 18:00
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    The mainstream media aren't "twisting the document". It very clearly admits "the possibility of blessings for couples in irregular situations and for couples of the same sex". Hence, all Catholics must reject Fiducia Supplicans (just as Amoris Lætitia must be rejected, too).
    – Geremia
    Dec 20, 2023 at 21:16
  • Gal. 1:8-9: "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema. As we said before, so now I say again: If any one preach to you a gospel, besides that which you have received, let him be anathema."
    – Geremia
    Dec 20, 2023 at 21:21
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    @MikeBorden that's how we have to read the document. Otherwise paragraph 31 is saying that the Church can do something that paragraphs 5, 8, and 11 are saying the Church cannot do. It's the only way I see to reconcile this apparent contradiction.
    – jaredad7
    Dec 20, 2023 at 23:45
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    @jaredad7 But isn't this the "Humpty Dumpty" problem that Cardinal Muller referenced? Further, haven't the clarifications made it clear that your thesis is incorrect? That more than the mere individuals are being blessed?
    – zippy2006
    Jan 5 at 2:35
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Vatican's official position on homosexuality is to be analysed with careful theological and political discernment, as the plain reading of the official speeches alone are obfuscating to downplay the controversy. People may interpret Pope's words from their personal bias and interpretations. This AP article from Jan 2023 writes,

In 2019, Francis had been expected to issue a statement opposing criminalization of homosexuality during a meeting with human rights groups that conducted research into the effects of such laws and so-called “conversion therapies.”

In the end, after word of the audience leaked, the pope didn’t meet with the groups. Instead, the Vatican No. 2 did and reaffirmed “the dignity of every human person and against every form of violence.” There was no indication that Francis spoke out about such laws now because his more conservative predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, recently died. The issue had never been raised in an interview, but Francis willingly responded, citing even the statistics about the number of countries where homosexuality is criminalized.

On Tuesday, Francis said there needed to be a distinction between a crime and a sin with regard to homosexuality. Church teaching holds that homosexual acts are sinful, or “intrinsically disordered,” but that gay people must be treated with dignity and respect.

Bantering with himself, Francis articulated the position: “It’s not a crime. Yes, but it’s a sin. Fine, but first let’s distinguish between a sin and a crime.”

“It’s also a sin to lack charity with one another,” he added.

Francis has not changed the church’s teaching, which has long riled gay Catholics. But he has made reaching out to LGBTQ people a hallmark of his papacy.

Starting with his famous 2013 declaration, “Who am I to judge?” — when he was asked about a purportedly gay priest — Francis has gone on to minister repeatedly and publicly to the gay and transgender communities. As archbishop of Buenos Aires, he favored granting legal protections to same-sex couples as an alternative to endorsing gay marriage, which Catholic doctrine forbids.

Despite such outreach, Francis was criticized by the Catholic gay community for a 2021 decree from the Vatican’s doctrine office that said the church cannot bless same-sex unions.

In 2008, the Vatican declined to sign onto a U.N. declaration that called for the decriminalization of homosexuality, complaining the text went beyond the original scope. In a statement at the time, the Vatican urged countries to avoid “unjust discrimination” against gay people and end penalties against them.

It seems like official Vatican position on homosexuality has not changed, however, as the controversy of Pope's unnatural attraction and support towards them keeps increasing. The division within the Catholic Church on this issue has been growing to a dangerous level. The 18 Dec 2023 decree that affirms non-marital, unofficial blessing of homosexuals is described as "a radical shift in policy that aimed at making the church more inclusive while maintaining its strict ban on gay marriage" (AP). Pope Francis has been hesitantly progressing towards the similar path of the COE and various similar "Churches", and his progression seems to be stronger and bolder by the day, as revealed by his speeches.

Redefining Blessing

Cardinal Fernández said the declaration "remains firm on the traditional doctrine of the Church about marriage, not allowing any type of liturgical rite or blessing similar to a liturgical rite that can create confusion," but it also explores the "pastoral meaning of blessings" in a way that opens "the possibility of blessing couples in irregular situations and same-sex couples without officially validating their status or changing in any way the Church's perennial teaching on marriage."

"Blessings are among the most widespread and evolving sacramentals. Indeed, they lead us to grasp God's presence in all the events of life and remind us that, even in the use of created things, human beings are invited to seek God, to love him, and to serve him faithfully," the declaration said. That is why people, meals, rosaries, homes, pets and myriad other things can be and are blessed on various occasions.

"From a strictly liturgical point of view," the declaration said, "a blessing requires that what is blessed be conformed to God's will, as expressed in the teachings of the Church," which is why the then-doctrinal congregation in 2021 excluded the possibility of blessing gay couples.

But, the new document said, Catholics should "avoid the risk of reducing the meaning of blessings" to their formal, liturgical use because that "would lead us to expect the same moral conditions for a simple blessing that are called for in the reception of the sacraments."

The church "remains firm" in teaching that marriage can be contracted only between one woman and one man, he said, and continues to insist that "rites and prayers that could create confusion" about a marriage and another form of relationship "are inadmissible."

"Indeed, there is the danger that a pastoral gesture that is so beloved and widespread will be subjected to too many moral prerequisites, which, under the claim of control, could overshadow the unconditional power of God's love that forms the basis for the gesture of blessing," it said.

A person who asks for God's blessing, the declaration said, "shows himself to be in need of God's saving presence in his life and one who asks for a blessing from the Church recognizes the latter as a sacrament of the salvation that God offers."

The church, it said, should be grateful when people ask for a blessing and should see it as a sign that they know they need God's help.

"When people ask for a blessing, an exhaustive moral analysis should not be placed as a precondition for conferring it. For, those seeking a blessing should not be required to have prior moral perfection," it said.

The Vatican has redefined blessing to be given to unrepentant sinners. Particularly, even to certain kind of people, to whom the ancient Israelites were willing to offer their daughters to be raped to avoid those "irregular" acts. Repentance should not longer a prerequisite for blessing someone as holy. It sounds like the Protestant doctrine of a sinner-saint; Simul justus et peccator means that a Christian is at the same time both righteous and a sinner. It is indeed interesting that one may mistake the Pope Francis' words with Martin Luther or Joel Osteen, in his teachings which typically lump up the eternal moral law with the obsolete Moses law, to render it obsolete. Catholic News Agency writes about Pope's speech, Aug, 2021: Look to Christ, not the law, to receive new life, pope says at audience

“The law, however, does not give life, it does not offer the fulfillment of (God’s) promise, because it is not capable of being able to fulfill it. Those who seek life need to look to the promise and to its fulfillment in Christ,” he said.

This was the problem — when people put more importance on observing the law than with encountering Christ, he said.

This passage of St. Paul to the Galatians “presents the radical newness of the Christian life: All those who have faith in Jesus Christ are called to live in the Holy Spirit, who liberates from the law and, at the same time, brings it to fulfillment according to the commandment of love,” he said.

The law is a path and “may the Lord help people walk along the path of the Ten Commandments, however, by looking at Christ’s love, the encounter with Christ, knowing that the encounter with Jesus is more important than all the commandments,” he said.

The new decree that wants to bless sinners without calling for repentance and conversion, therefore, is not a general ethical teaching like "bless those who curse and persecute you", as the context is not blessing the persecutors. It is a reformation of the Catholic theology itself in the direction of Protestant position of faith alone, as the context has nothing to do with an emergence of a Moses law keeping heresy. Just 3 days after the decree, on 21 December, the Pope further clarifies by condemning the traditional view as rigid, monotonous, legalistic and perfectionism. He endorsed a progressive moral relativism world-view, as opposed to the outdated law of God by condemning it as theories and ideas. We should follow our own hearts, not old-fashioned laws for truths, and that people are always superior to laws. Cf. Galatians 1:10.

Cruxnow reports on this speech:

ROME – In his annual Christmas address to members of the Roman Curia, Pope Francis urged the Church’s governing bureaucracy to be open to change and to resist “rigid ideological positions” that prevent them from moving forward.

Speaking to members of the curia during a Dec. 21 audience, Pope Francis stressed the need to “remain vigilant against rigid ideological positions that often, under the guise of good intentions, separate us from reality and prevent us from moving forward.”

“We are called, instead, to set out and journey, like the Magi, following the light that always desires to lead us on, at times along unexplored paths and new roads,” he said.

Referring to something he said was once told to him by a “zealous priest,” the pope said “it is not easy to rekindle the embers under the ashes of the Church. Today we strive to kindle passion in those who have long since lost it.”

“Sixty years after the Council, we are still debating the division between ‘progressives’ and ‘conservatives,’ while the real difference is between lovers and those who have lost that initial passion,” he said.

God, the pope said, shows that people “are, and will always remain, superior to ideas and theories.”

“We need, then, to practice spiritual discernment, to seek God’s will, to be sensitive to the deeper stirrings of our hearts, and then to assess our possibilities and the decisions that we need to take,” he said, saying the practice of real discernment will help the curia “to choose procedures and make decisions based not on worldly criteria, or simply by applying rules, but in accordance with the Gospel.”

“The Christian faith – let us remember – is not meant to confirm our sense of security, to let us settle into comfortable religious certitudes, and to offer us quick answers to life’s complex problems,” he said.

In this regard, Francis said that whenever God calls, he “draws us out of our comfort zones, our complacency about what we have already done, and, in this way, he sets us free.”

Within the curia, “it is important to keep faring forward, to keep searching and growing in our understanding of the truth, overcoming the temptation to stand still and never leave the labyrinth of our fears,” he said.

“Fear, rigidity and monotony make for an immobility that has the apparent advantage of not creating problems – ‘stay put, don’t move’ – but lead us to wander aimlessly within our labyrinths, to the detriment of the service we are called to offer the church and the whole world,” he said.

Pope Francis urged curial officials to guard against ideology and to be flexible and open to new ideas.

“When service becomes dull and “enclosed in the labyrinth of rigidity or mediocrity, whenever we find ourselves entangled in the web of bureaucracy and content ‘just to get by,’ let us always remember to look up, to start afresh from God, to be enlightened by his word and to find the courage needed to start anew,” he said.

Who Am I to Judge? Moral Truths not Written in Stones

Pope Francis has judged the Bible followers as judgmental law keepers, who are intentionally guising their pretentious ideologies as good intentions. Johnathan Cahn, a popular American Evangelical author has interpreted the Pope's words as strong condemnation of the Bible believers, in his video titled The Pope Francis End-Time Apostasy:

"under the guise of Good Intentions", that means that those who uphold the word of God, well it said they don't really have good intentions. It's only a guise they have evil intentions this is also not an accident because though he speaks as if his directives are for mercy and inclusivity he has spoken of those who hold to the Bible or who are conservative as evil so it's not just don't hold firmly to the word of God but that those who do hold firmly or strongly to God's word are actually evil he goes on holding to such positions meaning biblical positions "separate us from reality and prevent us from moving forward" so according to the pope holding to the word of God separates us from reality and prevents us from moving forward moving forward in to what it has to be moving forward away from the positions of the word of God. If moving forward means moving forward off a cliff, then I don't want to be part of that forward moving movement, because it's not really forward it's downward

Pope's progressive moral compass which is ever shifting as the political opinion and the Magi's star. He maybe currently way behind to the COE in the chasing that relative moral compass, but he may soon catch up to them. Only time will tell. The official position will only depend according to the level of backlash the Vatican faces from global law keeping Catholics. So far, only the blessing has been redifined, not the marriage. On Jan 6, 2024, the Pope indicated his fear of possible schism in his Church, as he struggles to convince others to push the popular morality. AP reports: Pope Francis Warns Against Ideological Splits in Catholic Church:

Amid resistance to some Vatican policy by more conservative factions of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis on Saturday cautioned the faithful against fracturing into groups “based on our own ideas."

He issued the call to abandon “ecclesiastical ideologies” in his homily in St. Peter's Basilica during Epiphany Day Mass, the last major Christmas season holiday.

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  • I understand that the Catholic Church stance on homosexuality has not changed, but (as you say) "The 18 Dec 2023 decree that affirms non-marital, unofficial blessing of homosexuals is described as "a radical shift in policy that aimed at making the church more inclusive" and is not dissimilar to the Anglican (COE) Church. "The new decree that wants to bless sinners without calling for repentance and conversion" is divisive, as shown in the links provided by Geremia and in your quotes. Standing up for biblical principles is not some sort of "ecclesiastical ideology". Where will it all end?
    – Lesley
    Jan 10 at 8:13
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The "declaration" Fiducia Supplicans of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF)* admits "the possibility of blessings for couples in irregular situations and for couples of the same sex" (§31).

This is directly contrary to Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Persons (2003), issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) under Card. Ratzinger's prefecture, with Pope John Paul II's approval. It concludes:

  1. The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behaviour or to legal recognition of homosexual unions. The common good requires that laws recognize, promote and protect marriage as the basis of the family, the primary unit of society. Legal recognition of homosexual unions or placing them on the same level as marriage would mean not only the approval of deviant behaviour, with the consequence of making it a model in present-day society, but would also obscure basic values which belong to the common inheritance of humanity. The Church cannot fail to defend these values, for the good of men and women and for the good of society itself.

*The DDF is Francis's version of the CDF, which used to be called the Congregation of the Holy Office (before 1965) and the Congregation for Universal Inquisition (before 1908).

Condemnations of Fiducia Supplicans

By their actions and words, many bishops and priests have already forbidden blessing sinful unions:

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò:

The delirious Declaration Fiducia Supplicans, recently published by the parody of the former Holy Office renamed the Dicastery, definitively pierces the veil of hypocrisy and deception of the Bergoglian hierarchy, showing these false shepherds for what they really are: servants of Satan and his most zealous allies, beginning with the usurper who sits – an abomination of desolation – on the Throne of Peter. The very incipit of the document sounds, like all those issued by Bergoglio, mocking and deceptive: because trust in God’s forgiveness without repentance is called the presumption of salvation without merit and is a sin against the Holy Spirit.
source: LifeSiteNews

Card. Gerhard Müller (prefect of the CDF, 2012-2013):

A blessing has to do with the order that God has created and that He has declared to be good. This order is based on the sexual difference of male and female, called to be one flesh. Blessing a reality that is contrary to creation is not only impossible, it is blasphemy.
source: LifeSiteNews

Archbishop Peta, Bishop Schneider ban ‘blessings’ of homosexual couples in their [Maria Santissima in Astana] archdiocese (source).

British Confraternity of Catholic Clergy rejects same-sex blessings as ‘inadmissible’

Dutch Bishop Robert Mutsaerts, the auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of 's-Hertogenbosch, said: "Holy Father, please, be clear! You are not helping anyone with this! No one at all!" (source)

See this continually updated list of bishops opposing or supporting Fiducia Supplicans.

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    Your links are most helpful, especially the one from the British Confraternity of Catholic Clegy.
    – Lesley
    Dec 22, 2023 at 10:58
  • @Lesley I added some more.
    – Geremia
    Dec 22, 2023 at 16:52
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To boil this down to simple terms, a minister of the church may not formally bless any "irregular" union, but he may indeed join with the couple in an informal "blessing prayer" expressing gratitude for God's grace and asking for His help.

As @jaredad9 rightly points out, the key contemporary Vatican document on this matter is Fiducia Supplicans issued on Dec. 18, 2023 in response to questions about the Church's teaching on this matter. It stresses that "the text of the Declaration was submitted to the Holy Father for his review, and he approved it with his signature."

Fiducia Supplicans makes a key distinction between "ascending" and "descending" blessings.

15... This “priestly blessing” we find in the Old Testament, specifically in the Book of Numbers, has a “descending” character since it represents the invocation of a blessing that descends from God upon man... Then, there is a second type of blessing we find in the biblical pages: that which “ascends” from earth to heaven, toward God. Blessing in this sense amounts to praising, celebrating, and thanking God for his mercy and his faithfulness, for the wonders he has created, and for all that has come about by his will: “Bless the Lord, my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!” (Ps. 103:1).

Paragraph 32 states that "the Church welcomes all who approach God with humble hearts, accompanying them with those spiritual aids that enable everyone to understand and realize God’s will fully in their existence."

Paragraph 33 clarifies:

  1. This is a blessing that, although not included in any liturgical rite, unites intercessory prayer with the invocation of God’s help by those who humbly turn to him. God never turns away anyone who approaches him! Ultimately, a blessing offers people a means to increase their trust in God. The request for a blessing, thus, expresses and nurtures openness to the transcendence, mercy, and closeness to God in a thousand concrete circumstances of life, which is no small thing in the world in which we live. It is a seed of the Holy Spirit that must be nurtured, not hindered.

Thus, a priest may indeed join with a same-sex couple an informal prayer of blessing expressing gratitude for his Grace. But this must not be understood as formally approving a same-sex union. One of the document's concluding paragraphs says:

  1. In any case, precisely to avoid any form of confusion or scandal, when the prayer of blessing is requested by a couple in an irregular situation, even though it is expressed outside the rites prescribed by the liturgical books, this blessing should never be imparted in concurrence with the ceremonies of a civil union, and not even in connection with them. Nor can it be performed with any clothing, gestures, or words that are proper to a wedding. The same applies when the blessing is requested by a same-sex couple.

Summary: the Church currently allows priests to join a same-sex couple in the act of an "ascending blessing" but does not allow priest to confer the Church's formal liturgical "blessing" on the couple, which would imply that the relationship is approved. Any "descending blessing" in such a case involves the stipulation that the persons "do not claim a legitimation of their own status, but... beg that all that is true, good, and humanly valid in their lives and their relationships be enriched, healed, and elevated by the presence of the Holy Spirit." (par. 39)

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    Sounds like an attempt to placate rather than an approval of sane sex unions. A slippery slope to try planting the church’s feet on
    – Kris
    Dec 20, 2023 at 17:35
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    We report, you decide. Dec 20, 2023 at 18:30
  • For clarification, what (in the eyes of the Roman Catholic Church) is "an irregular union"?
    – Lesley
    Dec 21, 2023 at 7:49
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    So, is the priest ultimately asking God to help the 'couple' to be blessed and set free from the sin of their irregular union all the while the 'couple' in question is most likely not asking for anything like that at all? Dec 21, 2023 at 13:39
  • Not exactly. The blessing is basically "ascending"... a blessing of God by those offering the blessing prayer, rather than a blessing "by" God on the couple. The priest should make clear that God this is not a "descending" blessing on their marriage per se. Dec 21, 2023 at 14:44

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