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Pope Francis Approves Blessings for 'Irregular' Same-Sex Couples

 Pope Francis I greets worshippers in Rome, Italy, on April 04, 2013
Boris Stroujko / Shutterstock

While gay marriage is still considered a sin in the Catholic church, Pope Francis has approved blessings for same-sex couples.

Those seeking divine love do not need to undergo "exhaustive moral analysis” to be worthy of receiving it, according to Pope Francis.

The Pope released a document on Monday formally approving priests to bless same-sex couples, so long as the blessing does not resemble a wedding, multiple media outlets have reported. However, the document states such requests should not be denied outright, and can be permitted if the blessing does not take place as part of regular church activities.

In other words, the new ruling offers “the possibility of blessings for couples in irregular situations and for couples of the same sex” although it leaves the decisions to “the prudent and fatherly discernment of ordained ministers.”

The decision marks a stark shift from the Vatican's previous stance, reflected in a 2021 ruling from its doctrine office which stated God “cannot bless sin.” Pope Francis quickly expressed his opposition at the time, despite technically approving its publication, and soon after removed the official responsible.

Clergy members were permitted to bless the unions of same-sex couples who have had civil weddings or partnerships in February after a vote from the church's national assembly, and just this past weekend, the Church of England blessed same-sex couples for the first time.

The church still holds the official position that marriage is between a man and woman and that people in "irregular" unions are living in sin. The Vatican's new doctrine states that "when people ask for a blessing, an exhaustive moral analysis should not be placed as a precondition for conferring it."

“Ultimately, a blessing offers people a means to increase their trust in God,” the document reads, according to the Associated Presss. “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 adds that asking for a blessing is "a seed of the Holy Spirit that must be nurtured, not hindered.”

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Ryan Adamczeski

Ryan is a staff writer at the Advocate, and a graduate of New York University Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing, with a focus in television writing and comedy. She first became a published author at the age of 15 with her YA novel 'Someone Else's Stars', and is now a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. In her free time, Ryan likes watching New York Rangers hockey, listening to the Beach Boys, and practicing witchcraft.
Ryan is a staff writer at the Advocate, and a graduate of New York University Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing, with a focus in television writing and comedy. She first became a published author at the age of 15 with her YA novel 'Someone Else's Stars', and is now a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. In her free time, Ryan likes watching New York Rangers hockey, listening to the Beach Boys, and practicing witchcraft.