Pope Francis Opens Door For Same-Sex Couples To Receive Certain Blessings

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Kate Anderson Contributor
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The Vatican published a document Monday clarifying that priests within the Catholic Church can offer certain blessings to same-sex couples.

The declaration states that ordained priests can provide non-liturgical blessings to couples of the same sex or those in “irregular situations,” but explicitly states that the blessing should not be confused with blessings related to the Sacrament of Marriage; the blessing also does not constitute an endorsement of the same-sex union. The Vatican has been beset with questions on its stance on same-sex relationships for years. (RELATED: House Report Sheds Light On FBI Targeting Of Catholics, Pro-Lifers)

“Within the horizon outlined here appears the possibility of blessings for couples in irregular situations and for couples of the same sex, the form of which should not be fixed ritually by ecclesial authorities to avoid producing confusion with the blessing proper to the Sacrament of Marriage,” the document reads. “In such cases, a blessing may be imparted that not only has an ascending value but also involves the invocation of a blessing that descends from God upon those who—recognizing themselves to be destitute and in need of his help—do not claim a legitimation of their own status, but who beg that all that is true, good, and humanly valid in their lives and their relationships be enriched, healed, and elevated by the presence of the Holy Spirit.”

A demonstrator dressed in a wedding dress gestures in front of a poster with Pope Benedict XVI, during a rally in front of the French Embassy in Rome, 14 January 2006. Several thousands of people protested on 14 January requesting access to the Civil Pact for Solidarity (PACS), after Pope Benedict XVI condemned gay marriage and civil unions. (ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP via Getty Images)

The document reiterates the Catholic church’s position that marriage remains only between one man and one woman, and notes that any blessings given that “could create confusion between what constitutes marriage … are inadmissible.”

Additionally, the document warned priests against promoting blessing for “couples in an irregular situation,” but also states that the church should “not prevent or prohibit the Church’s closeness to people in every situation in which they might seek God’s help through a simple blessing.”

Several conservative Catholic bishops wrote to Pope Francis in July and then again in August, asking that the Holy Father explain the church’s position on same-sex marriage and female ordination.

“God never turns away anyone who approaches him! Ultimately, a blessing offers people a means to increase their trust in God,” the document states. “The request for a blessing, thus, expresses and nurtures 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.”

The Vatican did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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