More mixed messages from the Pope and the Vatican.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, the Catholic Church’s office in charge of orthodoxy issues, issued a statement earlier today. The two-page statement and decree, which had to be approved by Pope Francis, stated that while LGBTQ people are welcome to the church, the doctrine prohibits blessings for same-sex unions.
“It is necessary that what is blessed be objectively and positively ordered to receive and express grace, according to the designs of God inscribed in creation,” the decree reads.
It then adds, “It is not licit to impart a blessing on relationships, or partnerships, even stable, that involve sexual activity outside of marriage, as is the case of the unions between persons of the same sex. 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.”
Hearing this message is disappointing considering the Catholic Church has been slowly moving toward accepting LGBTQ people. Though, it isn’t entirely unsurprising. Pope Francis has continuously contradicted himself when it comes to LGBTQ people. His former homophobic viewpoint has softened in the past few years, but he’s also gone back on a few promises.
For instance, there were his viral words from a 2020 documentary about his life titled Francisco. In one scene from that film, the Pope says, “Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family. 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,” he then added. “That way they are legally covered. I stood up for that.”
It’s believed that part of the reason the Pope has come around to gay people is his relationship with a former mentee named Yayo Grassi. Grassi, who’s now the owner of a catering business, met Francis when he was known as Jorge Bergolio and taught Argentine literature and psychology in Argentina. The two eventually lost touch but then reconnected in 2008. As the years have gone by, Grassi has made sure to confront his old mentor and friend whenever the topics of homosexuality and gay relationships came up.
Another wound to LGBTQ Catholics who deserve better from a Church that denounces exclusion but continues to push people to the margins. https://t.co/BglFKrVyUo
— John Gehring (@gehringdc) March 15, 2021
Despite that, it seems the Pope is still influenced by homophobic rhetoric in the Catholic Church. This mixed messaging has left many people unsurprised and unimpressed by the recent decree.
“It truly doesn’t surprise me,” said Argentinian LGTBQ activist Estaban Paulón to the Washington Blade. “We have seen consistently ambiguous signals in relation to the LGBTI community during the eight years of Francis’ papacy.”
Or as John Gehring, program director at Faith in Public Life, wrote on Twitter, according to the New York Daily News, “Another wound to LGBTQ Catholics who deserve better from a Church that denounces exclusion but continues to push people to the margins.”