On Monday (March 15), the Vatican released a formal response about its position on same-sex unions and said it would not bless them because God “cannot bless sin.”
According to the Associated Press, the two-page declaration came from the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith and was published in seven different languages and approved by Pope Francis.
The decision by the pontiff to approve the response came as a disappointment to many in the LGBTQ community who felt like some of his recent supportive sentiments on the issue were opening the door to create a “civil union law.”
In the response, the Vatican made sure to differentiate between its openness to welcoming gay people into the Catholic Church and the fact that it would not recognize their unions or marriage. The Vatican’s position is that gay people should be treated with respect, but gay sex could not be condoned because it is “intrinsically disordered.”
“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,” the response said.
It continued: God “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.”
Although the decision by the Vatican is a major step back for LGBTQ Catholics, some supporters of gays in the Church like Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, said the Vatican’s position would likely be ignored by Catholics who disagree with the decree.
“Catholic people recognize the holiness of the love between committed same-sex couples and recognize this love as divinely inspired and divinely supported and thus meets the standard to be blessed,” DeBernardo said in a statement.
For those who agreed with the Vatican’s decision like Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, the response was a resounding rejection for the hopes of LGBTQ Catholics everywhere. “The Vatican left nothing on the table,” he said. “The door has been slammed shut on the gay agenda.”