Vatican Decree on Same-Sex Marriage

International Mar 20, 2021

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith rules that God ‘cannot bless sin’

The Vatican, as per a decree release on Monday, March 15th 2021, has said that the Catholic church cannot bless same-sex unions, as God “does not bless sin”. This comes as a huge blow to the hopes of Catholics in the LGBTQ+ community  who believed Pope Francis might have created a more open and accepting environment.

The decree said “the Christian community and its pastors must welcome with respect and sensitivity persons with homosexual inclinations”, but their unions cannot be blessed. This has lead to pubic outcry and disappointment as it seems to be affirming that the Catholic Church will bless gay people as long as they do not wish to get married.

Pope Francis, in his comments in the documentary film ‘Francesco’ publicly supported giving gay people legal rights within same-sex unions. But the declaration on Monday made it clear that the pope’s previous comments only applied to earthly laws (civil unions) not divine ones (church unions).

In response to a question about whether priests can bless gay couples, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), published a decree saying that such blessings “cannot be considered licit”. This comes just months after Pope Francis said that gay people are “children of God” and deserve access to civil unions. The document did not clearly reveal who sent the question to the CDF, but several bishops and theologians, particularly in European countries like Germany and Austria, in recent years have supported the blessing of gay unions.

The Vatican further said that “there are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family.” According to Catholic teaching, marriage between a man and a woman is part of God’s plan and intended for the creation of children. Since gay unions do not adhere to this format, their relationships cannot be legitimately blessed.

Similar justifications were given in India in response to petitions for the legalisation of same-sex marriages. A statement was released by the Centre that “Same-sex marriage not comparable with Indian family unit concept”.

In the process of opposing a batch of petitions seeking legal recognition of same-sex marriages, the Centre told the Delhi High Court that the decriminalization of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code does not translate to ensuring the fundamental right for same-sex couples to marry.

The High Court is set to hear the further petitions on April 20, 2021; but in February the Centre opposed a batch of petitions seeking legal recognition and registration of same-sex marriages. The Centre claimed that a marriage between individuals cannot be treated as a private affair, as they invoke “age-old customs, rituals, practices, cultural ethos and societal values” of India.

This article has been written by Kyra Songadwala for The Paradigm

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