The governing body of the Catholic Church said the religious institution does not have the power to bless same-sex unions.
The Vatican made the statement as it responded to a question posed, “Does the Church have the power to give the blessing to unions of persons of the same sex?” .
According to the Vatican, the church cannot confer an “ecclesial blessing” on same sex unions as they are not within the Creator’s plan.
The Vatican explained that while it would be unlawful to declare a blessing on such unions, the Catholic church is sensitive to persons with “homosexual inclinations”.
“The declaration of the unlawfulness of blessings of unions between persons of the same sex is not therefore, and is not intended to be, a form of unjust discrimination, but rather a reminder of the truth of the liturgical rite and of the very nature of the sacramentals, as the Church understands them,” read the Vatican’s response.
“The Christian community and its Pastors are called to welcome with respect and sensitivity persons with homosexual inclinations, and will know how to find the most appropriate ways, consistent with Church teaching, to proclaim to them the Gospel in its fullness. At the same time, they should recognize the genuine nearness of the Church – which prays for them, accompanies them and shares their journey of Christian faith – and receive the teachings with sincere openness,” added the Vatican in its response.
What are blessing?
According to the Vatican, blessings belong to the category of the sacramentals, whereby the Church calls us to praise God, encourages us to implore his protection, and exhorts us to seek his mercy by our holiness of life.
Citing the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Vatican made the distinction between ” blessings” ” sacramentals” and “sacraments”.
“Blessings belong to the category of the sacramentals, whereby the Church “calls us to praise God, encourages us to implore his protection, and exhorts us to seek his mercy by our holiness of life”. In addition, they “have been established as a kind of imitation of the sacraments, blessings are signs above all of spiritual effects that are achieved through the Church’s intercession” explained the Vatican.
“Consequently, in order to conform with the nature of sacramentals, when a blessing is invoked on particular human relationships, in addition to the right intention of those who participate, 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, and fully revealed by Christ the Lord. Therefore, only those realities which are in themselves ordered to serve those ends are congruent with the essence of the blessing imparted by the Church,”added the Vatican