A note from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith explains that the Church cannot change God's designs and therefore does not have the power to bless relationships, or even stable partnerships, which involve sexual practices outside marriage defined as the indissoluble union of a man and a woman open in itself to the transmission of life.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The Church does not have the power to bless unions between homosexual people. This is the response given by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (pictured) to a "dubium" about the blessing of same-sex unions. The answer was published today with the consent of Pope Francis.
The note from the Congregation notes that the Church is against any "unjust discrimination" of homosexual people and recognises that proposals for blessing same-sex unions “are not infrequently motivated by a sincere desire to welcome and accompany homosexual persons, to whom are proposed paths of growth in faith.”
However, “in order to conform with the nature of sacramentals, when a blessing is invoked on particular human relationships, in addition to the right intention of those who participate, it is necessary that what is blessed be objectively and positively ordered to receive and express grace, according to the designs of God inscribed in creation, and fully revealed by Christ the Lord. Therefore, only those realities which are in themselves ordered to serve those ends are congruent with the essence of the blessing imparted by the Church.
“For this reason, it is not licit to impart a blessing on relationships, or partnerships, even stable, that involve sexual activity outside of marriage (i.e., outside the indissoluble union of a man and a woman open in itself to the transmission of life), as is the case of the unions between persons of the same sex.”
“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, since the positive elements exist within the context of a union not ordered to the Creator’s plan.”
“At the same time, the Church recalls that God Himself never ceases to bless each of His pilgrim children in this world, because for Him “we are more important to God than all of the sins that we can commit”. But he does not and cannot bless sin: he blesses sinful man, so that he may recognize that he is part of his plan of love and allow himself to be changed by him.”
“The answer to the proposed dubium does not preclude the blessings given to individual persons with homosexual inclinations, who manifest the will to live in fidelity to the revealed plans of God as proposed by Church teaching. Rather, it declares illicit any form of blessing that tends to acknowledge their unions as such. In this case, in fact, the blessing would manifest not the intention to entrust such individual persons to the protection and help of God, in the sense mentioned above, but to approve and encourage a choice and a way of life that cannot be recognized as objectively ordered to the revealed plans of God.”
In a statement, the dicastery’s “Explanatory Note bases the illicitness on three interconnected reasons.
“The first reason arises from the truth and value of blessings. They belong to the genre of sacramentals, which are “liturgical actions of the Church” that require consonance of life with what they signify and generate. There are meanings and outcomes of grace that the Note explains in concise form. Consequently, a blessing on a human relationship requires that it be ordered to both receive and express the good that is pronounced and given by the blessing.
“Thus we come to the second reason: the order that makes one fit to receive the gift is given by the “designs of God inscribed in creation, and fully revealed by Christ the Lord”. These are designs to which “relationships, or partnerships, even stable, that involve sexual activity outside of marriage” do not correspond, for they are “outside the indissoluble union of a man and a woman open in itself to the transmission of life.” However, not only these unions – as if the problem were only such unions – but any union that involves sexual activity outside of marriage, which is illicit from the moral point of view, according to the perennial teaching of the ecclesial Magisterium.
“This all implies a power that the Church does not possess, because she does not have the power over God's designs, which would otherwise be rejected and denied. The Church is not the arbiter of these designs and the truths they express, but their faithful interpreter and witness.
“The third reason is to avert an error into which one would easily be led: that of assimilating the blessing of unions of persons of the same sex to that of matrimonial unions. Because of the connection between blessings of persons and the sacraments, the blessing of such unions could in a sense imply “a certain imitation or analogue of the nuptial blessing”, imparted to a man and a woman united in the sacrament of Matrimony. This would be erroneous and misleading.” (FP)