Pope Francis has indicated that he would be willing to have the Catholic Church sanction same-s*x unions.
The Vatican declared in 2021 that the Catholic Church would not sanction gay marriages because God “cannot bless sin.”
However, the Vatican published a letter from Pope Francis to a group of cardinals who sought him for clarification on the topic on Monday.
The religious leader reaffirmed that the church only recognizes marriage as a partnership between a man and a woman, but that blessings for persons in same-s*x unions could be granted.
According to the pope, “pastoral charity” necessitates patience and understanding, and priests should not become “judges who only deny, reject, and exclude.”
He defined a desired blessing as a request for God’s assistance in living a better life even in situations that are “not morally acceptable.”
According to the religious leader, priests should not merely regard individuals as sinners because they may not be entirely to blame for their circumstances.
Francis proposed that blessing gay couples not become an official rule, but rather be chosen on a case-by-case basis “because the life of the church runs on channels beyond norms.”
“The Church has a very clear understanding of marriage: an exclusive, stable, and indissoluble union between a man and a woman, naturally open to procreation,” he wrote.
“Only this union can be called marriage. Other forms of union realise it only in a partial and analogous way so they cannot be strictly called marriage.
“For this reason, the Church avoids any type of rite or sacramental that might contradict this conviction and suggest that something that is not marriage is recognised as marriage.
“However, in our relationships with people, we must not lose the pastoral charity, which should permeate all our decisions and attitudes.
“The defence of objective truth is not the only expression of this charity; it also includes kindness, patience, understanding, tenderness, and encouragement. Therefore, we cannot be judges who only deny, reject, and exclude.
“Pastoral prudence must adequately discern whether there are forms of blessing, requested by one or more persons, that do not convey a mistaken concept of marriage.
“For when a blessing is requested, it is expressing a plea to God for help, a supplication to live better. Although there are situations that are not morally acceptable from an objective point of view, the same pastoral charity requires us not to simply treat as sinners other people whose guilt or responsibility may be mitigated by various factors affecting subjective accountability.
“Decisions that may be part of pastoral prudence in certain circumstances should not necessarily become a norm. Not everything that is part of a practical discernment in particular circumstances can be elevated to the level of a rule.
“Canon law should not and cannot cover everything, as the life of the Church flows through many channels other than normative ones.”
In 2020, Pope Francis called gay Catholics “children of God” and gave his endorsement to same-s*x civil unions.