On Monday, March 15th, the Vatican announced that the Catholic Church cannot bless same-sex unions. This statement was issued in response to recent questions from pastors and other Catholic leaders, as social and legal acceptance of same-sex marriage continues to grow.
The Vatican described same-sex relationships as a “sinful choice” that is not a part of God’s plans. The Catholic Church only recognizes marriage as a union between a man and a woman and places an emphasis on the couple raising children together. The Church also refuses to bless any relationship that involves sexual activity outside of marriage, which is considered the case with same-sex unions. The Vatican insisted that God “cannot bless sin."
The Vatican recognized that same-sex relationships can be healthy and stable but remained firm on their disapproval.
“The presence in such relationships of positive elements, which are in themselves to be valued and appreciated, cannot justify these relationships and render them legitimate objects of an ecclesial blessing,” the statement read.
The Vatican also insisted that their negative judgement of same-sex unions does not equate to a negative judgement on individual persons. According to them, the Vatican’s statement was not intended to be “unjust discrimination” and they called on Catholics “to welcome with respect and sensitivity persons with homosexual inclinations.”
While this teaching really is not news, as the Catholic Church has upheld this belief for centuries, it is disappointing. In the past, Pope Francis has been welcoming towards members of the LGBTQ+ community. In 2020, during an interview for a documentary, Pope Francis spoke in favor of legal civil unions for same-sex couples, stating that homosexual people “have a right to a family” and “are children of God.” Though this statement did not indicate a change in Catholic teachings.
As many countries across the globe have legalized same-sex marriage, the Catholic Church has continually rejected the idea and in doing so, has turned away many younger followers. And in my opinion–-so be it. There is a reason membership is dwindling.
Being with someone you love should not be considered a sin. Who you love is not a choice. Love is love, and love should always be celebrated and accepted when it is between two consenting adults. I think that the Catholic Church needs to reconsider what the word “welcome” means if they are going to claim that everyone has a place in the church.
Your love life does not require the Vatican’s approval. It is important to remember that an individual’s faith is between themself and their creator. It is not one person’s place to deny another person’s humanity. In other words, you do not get to tell other people how to live their lives according to your beliefs. And quite frankly, I am sick of old white men telling the rest of the world how to live their lives.
Opinions are opinions, but when they invalidate the existence of a whole group of people and deny them basic rights, they are no longer just opinions. They are a hateful act of discrimination. I grew up in the church and no longer consider myself a member, or even a Christian anymore. I believe in love and acceptance for all humans, which the teachings and actions of the Church do not reflect, in my opinion.
To any members of the LGBTQ+ community reading this–-you are valid. It is okay to be confused about your beliefs. It is okay if the God you know and believe in is different from the God the Church told you about. It is okay if you do not believe in any god or any religion at all. What matters is that you are here, and you are wonderful just the way you are.