Pope says priests can bless same-sex couples

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Pope says priests can bless same-sex couples
Pope Francis said people being blessed did not require moral perfection

The leader of the Roman Catholic Church said priests should be permitted to bless same-sex and "irregular" couples, under certain circumstances.

But the Vatican said blessings should not be part of regular Church rituals or related to civil unions or weddings.

It added that it continues to view marriage as between a man and a woman.

Pope Francis approved a document issued by the Vatican announcing the change on Monday. The Vatican said it should be a sign that "God welcomes all", but the document says priests must decide on a case-by-case basis.

Introducing the text, Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, the prefect of the Church, said that the new declaration remained "firm on the traditional doctrine of the Church about marriage".

But he added that in keeping with the Pope's "pastoral vision" of "broadening" the appeal of the Catholic Church, the new guidelines would allow priests to bless relationships still considered sinful.

People receiving a blessing "should not be required to have prior moral perfection", according to the declaration.

In the Catholic Church, a blessing is a prayer or plea, usually delivered by a minister, asking for God to look favourably on the person or people being blessed.

Cardinal Fernández emphasised that the new stance does not validate the status of same-sex couples in the eyes of the Catholic Church.

The declaration represents a softening of tone from the Catholic Church, although not a change in position. In 2021, the Pope said priests could not bless same-sex marriages because God cannot "bless sin".

Pope Francis had suggested in October that he was open to having the Church bless same-sex couples.

Bishops in certain countries have previously allowed priests to bless same-sex couples, though the position of Church authorities remained unclear.

Source: BBC 

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