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The Catholic Church and Same-Sex Unions: A Ban on Blessings

Photo Courtesy of Unsplash.

Roar writer Ela Podgórska on the Catholic Church’s recent ban on blessing same-sex unions.

In 2020, Evgeny Afineevsky’s documentary about Pope Francis revealed he believed in the right to have same-sex civil unions. The revolutionary statement by the head of the Catholic Church emphasized the seemingly obvious, need for equal treatment of everyone, regardless of sexuality. By calling homosexual people ‘children of God’, he sparked a ray of hope amongst homosexual Catholics. However, those hopes have been recently crushed by the statement of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The controversial decision was presented in a rather brief document that addresses the question of whether the Church has the power to give blessings to same-sex unions. The Congregation sums up the answer as ‘negative’. As written, the Vatican worries that same-sex unions may not fit into God’s plan for marriage and starting a family. Gay marriages are considered as a deviation from God’s plan behind the sacrament of holy matrimony. Furthermore, the ‘explanatory note’ underlines that God ‘cannot bless sin’, concluding that the Church is left with no option, but to refuse the blessings of same-sex unions.

Catholic homosexuals feel betrayed by this decision and the explanation behind it. The important issue that is worth consideration is the question of how is it possible that same-sex relationships are not a part of God’s plan if he created us and the world we live in? The matter of this dispute seems to be connected more with the institution of the Church rather than God himself. We have to ask ourselves: to what extent can Church interpret the ideas of God’s plan? And why really should we abide by the Church’s laws and decrees when they are so unfair?

Of course, the explanatory note from the Congregation underlines that the decision is by no means meant to discriminate against homosexuals, they are still welcomed by the ‘Christian community and its Pastors’ who shall offer them ‘to proclaim to them the Gospel in its fullness.’ Nevertheless, being excluded from one of the sacraments, marriage, which is considered one of the channels of God’s grace inevitably entails being excluded from full participation in the Catholic Church.

Furthermore, some people aptly notice that it is just disgraceful, considering the sadly reoccurring problem of paedophilia amongst priests that has yet to be clamped down upon. Yet, blessing the union of people who love each other and simply want to live their lives in a marriage blessed by God through the Church is refuted. Going further, the argument stressing those same-sex unions are not inherently capable of fulfilling God’s plan of procreation seems not to be entirely legitimate.

If the willingness to have offspring was the compulsory requirement for the blessing to take place, the Church would have to reconsider allowing the matrimony of the people who are infertile or after the reproductive age. But why should we deny the sacrament to the people who cannot change anything about their conditions? Should we punish them for who they are? I don’t believe that ‘yes’ would be a plausible answer in that case. Therefore, why should we exclude people whose sexuality is also not a matter of choice, but a part of who they are? Or to say in more Catholic terms, a part of how they were created by God?

Following the initial statement against same-sex unions, Pope Francis proposed the need to introduce a new law regarding the topic. This once again raises hopes for the introduction of new rules, or requirements behind the Church’s sacraments. However, the proposal of such an idea is not enough and until we see it in force, we should focus on how to support Catholic homosexuals on their way to securing equal rights within the Church.

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