Sunday, December 24, 2023

Conservative Bishops Push Back Against Pope Francis on Same-Sex Blessings; Pope Suggests Blessings for Same-Sex Unions Possible in Response to 5 Conservative Cardinals; After Same-Sex Blessing Ruling, Pope Decries Inflexible Ideologies

Photo: Evandro Inetti/Zuma Press
Conservative Bishops Push Back Against Pope Francis on Same-Sex Blessings:
Conservative Catholic bishops in various countries have objected to Pope Francis’ recent permission on blessings for gay couples, underscoring the divisiveness of the issue in the global church.
The bishops of Zambia, Malawi and the principal archdiocese of Kazakhstan prohibited their priests from offering such blessings. The bishops of Ukraine lamented what they called the ambiguity of a recent Vatican declaration’s wording, which they warned could suggest approval of gay relationships.
Meanwhile, bishops in some European countries including Germany, Austria and Switzerland welcomed the new policy.
On Monday, the Vatican issued guidelines for the blessing of gay couples, saying that such ceremonies are permitted as long as they don’t imply that same-sex relationships are the equivalent of heterosexual marriage. Monday’s declaration confirmed and elaborated on a letter by the pope released in October.
The Zambian bishops declared in response that they would not implement the new Vatican guidelines, “in order to avoid any pastoral confusion and ambiguity as well as not to break the law of our country which forbids same sex unions and activities, and while listening to our cultural heritage which does not accept same sex relationships.”
In his Christmas speech to Vatican officials on Thursday morning, Francis didn’t mention the policy on blessings, but called for vigilance “against rigid ideological positions that often, under the guise of good intentions, separate us from reality and prevent us from moving forward.”
Francis has taken a conciliatory approach to LGBTQ people, without formally changing church teaching, which holds that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered” and “under no circumstances can they be approved.” In 2021, he approved a Vatican statement prohibiting blessings on the grounds that God “cannot bless sin,” but he reversed the ban this year.
Catholic priests in Germany and some other northern European countries have for years held ceremonies to bless same-sex couples, in defiance of the Vatican’s earlier ban. --->READ MORE HERE
AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino.File
Pope suggests blessings for same-sex unions possible in response to 5 conservative cardinals:
Pope Francis has suggested there could be ways to bless same-sex unions, responding to five conservative cardinals who challenged him to affirm church teaching on homosexuality ahead of a big meeting where LGBTQ+ Catholics are on the agenda.
The Vatican on Monday published a letter Francis wrote to the cardinals on July 11 after receiving a list of five questions, or “dubia,” from them a day earlier. In it, Francis suggests that such blessings could be studied if they didn’t confuse the blessing with sacramental marriage.
New Ways Ministry, which advocates for LGBTQ+ Catholics, said the letter “significantly advances” efforts to make LGBTQ+ Catholics welcomed in the church and “one big straw towards breaking the camel’s back” in their marginalization.
The Vatican holds that marriage is an indissoluble union between man and woman. As a result, it has long opposed gay marriage. But even Francis has voiced support for civil laws extending legal benefits to same-sex spouses, and Catholic priests in parts of Europe have been blessing same-sex unions without Vatican censure.
Francis’ response to the cardinals, however, marks a reversal from the Vatican’s current official position. In an explanatory note in 2021, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said flat-out that the church couldn’t bless gay unions because “God cannot bless sin.”
In his new letter, Francis reiterated that matrimony is a union between a man and a woman. But responding to the cardinals’ question about homosexual unions and blessings, he said “pastoral charity” requires patience and understanding and that regardless, priests cannot become judges “who only deny, reject and exclude.”
“For this reason, pastoral prudence must adequately discern whether there are forms of benediction, requested by one or more persons, that do not transmit a mistaken conception of marriage,” he wrote. “Because when a benediction is requested, it is expressing a request for help from God, a plea to be able to live better, a trust in a father who can help us to live better.”
He noted that there are situations that are objectively “not morally acceptable.” But he said the same “pastoral charity” requires that people be treated as sinners who might not be fully at fault for their situations. --->READ MORE HERE
Follow link below to a relevant story:

After same-sex blessing ruling, pope decries inflexible ideologies

If you like what you see, please "Like" and/or Follow us on FACEBOOK here, GETTR here, and TWITTER here.

No comments: