The statement was a formal response issued by the Vatican’s orthodoxy office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to a question about whether Catholic clergy are allowed to bless gay unions. The two-page response was approved by Pope Francis.
“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 statement said.
This position will surely disappoint many in the LGBTQ community, especially those who consider themselves part of the Catholic Church, as many had become hopeful in recent years that the Catholic Church might be more open to accepting gay marriage. This hope was in large part due to Pope Francis, who had previously told parents they should not condemn their kids just because they are gay and even voiced his support for civil unions for LGBTQ couples.
However, this statement makes it clear that the Pope still does not support the idea that marriage between two people of the same sex should be treated the same as a man and a woman. The statement makes a point of “rejecting all unjust discrimination” against gay people and says the answer “does not preclude the blessings given to individual persons with homosexual inclinations” so long as they “live in fidelity to the revealed plans of God as proposed by Church teaching.”
But the statement also says that God “does not and cannot bless sin” in reference to homosexuality, declaring that “the Church does not have, and cannot have, the power to bless unions of persons of the same sex.”