Africans, Others Against Blessing Of Same Sex Marriage Will Gradually Accept Idea-Pope Francis

Pope Francis

Pope Francis has said Catholics who stand against the church blessing same-sex marriages will gradually come to accept the decision of the church to do so.

Recall that the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria announced that Catholic churches within the country will not perform blessings for same-sex unions.

The Bishops said in a statement : “That would go against God’s law, the teachings of the Church, the laws of our nation, and the cultural sensibilities of our people.

“The Declaration reinforces the truth about God’s mercy. For one to willingly ask for a blessing demonstrates one’s trust in God and the desire to live according to God’s commandments”.

“Asking for God’s blessing is not dependent on how good one is. Imperfection is the reason for seeking God’s grace.

“Therefore, those in irregular unions are invited never to lose hope but rather to ask for God’s grace and
mercy while remaining open to conversion”, the Bishops’ statement further read.

However Reuters quotes the Pope as saying in an interview with an Italian newspaper, La Stampa, published on Monday, that many other people will soon come around.

“Those who protest vehemently belong to small ideological groups. A special case are Africans: for them homosexuality is something bad from a cultural point of view, they don’t tolerate it.

“But in general, I trust that gradually everyone will be reassured by the spirit of the ‘Fiducia Supplicans’ declaration by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith: it aims to include, not divide,” the Pope said.

Pope Francis in December 2023 said priests should be permitted to bless same-sex and “irregular” couples, under certain circumstances.

This is as the Vatican said blessings should not be part of regular Church rituals or related to civil unions or weddings, BBC reports.

It added last year, that it continues to view marriage as between a man and a woman.

Pope Francis approved a document issued by the Vatican announcing the change on December 18 2023. The Vatican said it should be a sign that “God welcomes all”, but the document says priests must decide on a case-by-case basis.

According to Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, the prefect of the Church, the new declaration remained “firm on the traditional doctrine of the Church about marriage”.

But he added that in keeping with the Pope’s “pastoral vision” of “broadening” the appeal of the Catholic Church, the new guidelines would allow priests to bless relationships still considered sinful.

People receiving a blessing “should not be required to have prior moral perfection”, according to the declaration.

In the Catholic doctrine, a blessing is a prayer or plea, usually delivered by a minister, asking for God to look favourably on the person or people being blessed.

Cardinal Fernández stated that the new position of the Vatican does not validate the status of same-sex couples in the eyes of the Catholic Church.

The declaration from the pop signifies a shift in Catholic Church, although not a change in position. In 2021, the Pope said priests could not bless same-sex marriages because God cannot “bless sin”.

Pope Francis had suggested in October that he was open to having the Church bless same-sex couples.

BBC reports that bishops in certain countries have previously allowed priests to bless same-sex couples, though the position of Church authorities remained unclear.

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