A priest can bless gay and unmarried couples as long as it is not a formal liturgical blessing and does not give the impression that the Church is blessing the unions as if they were a marriage, the Vatican announced. Source: CNS.
The request for a blessing can express and nurture “openness to the transcendence, mercy and closeness to God in a thousand concrete circumstances of life, which is no small thing in the world in which we live. It is a seed of the Holy Spirit that must be nurtured, not hindered,” the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith said in a formal declaration published yesterday.
The document, Fiducia Supplicans (Supplicating Trust) is subtitled “On the pastoral meaning of blessings”, and was approved by Pope Francis during an audience yesterday with dicastery prefect Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández.
Cardinal Fernández said the declaration “remains firm on the traditional doctrine of the Church about marriage, not allowing any type of liturgical rite or blessing similar to a liturgical rite that can create confusion,” but it also explores the “pastoral meaning of blessings” in a way that opens “the possibility of blessing couples in irregular situations and same-sex couples without officially validating their status or changing in any way the Church’s perennial teaching on marriage”.
The new document said Catholics should “avoid the risk of reducing the meaning of blessings” to their formal, liturgical use because that “would lead us to expect the same moral conditions for a simple blessing that are called for in the reception of the sacraments”.
The declaration insisted that the Mass is not the proper setting for the less formal forms of blessing that could include the blessing of a gay couple, and it repeated that “it is not appropriate for a diocese, a bishops’ conference” or other Church structure to issue a formal blessing prayer or ritual for unwed couples. The blessing also should not be given “in concurrence” with a civil marriage ceremony to avoid appearing as a sort of church blessing of the civil union.
Doctrinal dicastery explains how, when gay couples can be blessed (By Cindy Wooden, CNS via USCCB)
Did the pope just permit gay marriage? (Pillar Catholic)