Catholic Scholars Urge Bishops to Reject Vatican’s Approval of Same-Sex Couple Blessings


A group of 90 Catholic priests, scholars, and authors are urging bishops and cardinals to reject a recent Vatican declaration permitting the pastoral blessing of same-sex couples. They argue that the declaration contradicts Scripture and Church tradition, causing scandal. The scholars contest the distinction made between liturgical and pastoral blessings, claiming it’s impossible to separate them doctrinally. They stress the importance of upholding traditional teachings on sexual morality. Notable signatories include Thomas Ward, Dr. Michael Pakaluk, and Father Robert Sirico. The Vatican defends the declaration, emphasizing its pastoral nature and stating that it doesn’t imply approval of same-sex unions.

Understanding the Vatican Declaration

The Vatican declaration, issued by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith on Dec. 18, 2023, allows for pastoral blessings but prohibits liturgical blessings for same-sex couples. Liturgical blessings, it asserts, imply God’s approval and are reserved for unions conforming to Church doctrine. Pastoral blessings, on the other hand, are seen as expressions of faith and can be offered to all, including same-sex couples, without endorsing their union.

Reasons for Opposition

The scholars opposing the declaration argue that distinguishing between liturgical and pastoral blessings is untenable doctrinally. They assert that any blessing implies approval, regardless of its nature. They express concern that the declaration may be interpreted as a shift in Church doctrine on sexual morality, which they deem unacceptable.

Signatories and Global Reach

The 90 signatories represent Catholic voices from various continents. Notable among them are Thomas Ward, Dr. Michael Pakaluk, and Father Robert Sirico. The letter, published in multiple languages, aims to gather more support by a Feb. 15 deadline.

Vatican’s Response

While some bishops have embraced the declaration, others have hesitated or outright refused to implement it. Cardinal Victor Manuel Fernández defended the declaration, stressing its pastoral intent and reaffirming traditional teachings on marriage and sexual morality.

In conclusion, the debate over the Vatican declaration on same-sex couple blessings continues to divide Catholic scholars and leaders. The tension underscores deeper questions about doctrine, pastoral care, and the Church’s response to evolving social norms.

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Note: While content aims to align with Catholic teachings, any inconsistencies or errors are unintended. For precise understanding, always refer to authoritative sources like the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Always double-check any quotes for word-for-word accuracy with the Bible or the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

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