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The Vatican authorizes non-liturgical blessing of same-sex couples | The Pope François

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Two men kiss in front of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome during a demonstration in favor of homosexual rights, in 2008. (Archive photo)

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The Vatican officially authorized Monday the blessing of same-sex couples and “in an irregular situation” for the Church, a first, while remaining firm on its opposition to homosexual marriage.

This blessing will never be performed at the same time as the civil rites of union, nor even in connection with them, specifies the document of the dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, approved by Pope Francis.

It is possible to bless couples in an irregular situation and couples of the same sex, in a form which does not have to be ritually fixed by the ecclesial authorities, in order not to create of confusion with the blessing specific to the sacrament of marriage, explains this document published in several languages ​​by the Vatican.

This is the first time that the Church has opened the way so clearly for the blessing of same-sex couples, a subject which crystallizes tensions within the Church due to strong opposition from its conservative fringe, particularly in the United States.

Despite the non-recognition of the Holy See, the blessing of same-sex couples was however already practiced until now by certain priests, notably in Belgium and Germany.

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Pope Francis blesses the crowd from the window overlooking St. Peter's Square in the Vatican. (Archive photo)

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This statement comes six weeks after the close of the General Assembly of the Synod for the Future of the Catholic Church, a global consultative meeting during which bishops, women and laity debated social issues such as welcoming LGBT+ people or divorced and remarried people.

At the beginning of October, five conservative cardinals publicly asked Pope Francis to reaffirm Catholic doctrine on gay couples, but the Synod's final document left this burning issue aside.

In 2021, the Vatican reaffirmed that it was considering gay couples. homosexuality as a sin and confirmed the impossibility for same-sex couples to receive the sacrament of marriage.

Since his election in 2013, the Argentine Jesuit, who insists on the importance of a Church open to all, has repeatedly aroused the ire of conservatives, notably by restricting the use of the traditional Latin mass in 2021 .

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