The Vatican document explicitly saying Catholic priests can bless same-sex unions lays out the conditions for how such blessings can and cannot involve

ROME — The Vatican document explicitly saying Catholic priests can bless same-sex unions lays out the conditions for what such blessings can, and cannot, involve.

The overall goal is to make it abundantly clear to the couple and those around them that the blessing is not a liturgical or sacramental ritual, and that it in no way resembles a marriage. This is because the Catholic Church teaches that marriage is a lifelong sacramental union between a man and woman.

Nothing has changed about the church’s position on marriage, its firm opposition to gay marriage, or its belief that any extramarital sex — gay or straight — is sinful.

Here are some of the points in the document:

— To avoid any confusion that the church was performing a same-sex marriage, the blessing should not be offered in conjunction with a civil union ceremony, gay or straight.

— “Nor can it be performed with any clothing, gestures, or words that are proper to a wedding.”

— Such blessings can be offered during a visit to a Catholic shrine, during a meeting with a priest, a prayer recited in a group or during a pilgrimage.

— The blessing should not be codified or in any way established by set procedures or rituals by dioceses or bishops’ conferences. Rather, priests should be trained to “spontaneously” offer blessings outside the church’s set of approved blessings.

— To drive that point home, the document concludes that the Vatican has no plans to regulate details or practicalities about same-sex blessings, or respond to further questions about them, leaving it to individual priests to work out.

By Admins

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