The Vatican Said It Cannot Bless Gay Marriages Because It 'Cannot Bless Sin'

Pope Francis
Getty Images

The Vatican clarified that because the church can't bless unions does not mean it does not bless the person.

The Vatican declared Monday that it cannot bless gay marriages because it "cannot bless sin."

In a formal ruling to a question about whether the Catholic clergy can bless gay unions, a two-page explanation approved by Pope Francis stated the answer was "negative." The response was published in seven languages.

The inquiry came after the Vatican has received questions regarding blessing same-sex unions in a sacramental way in recent years, according to reports.

The church upholds its blessing and welcoming of gay people and that individuals must be treated with "respect and sensitivity," the New York Times reported. But blessing gay unions could be mistaken with marriage, which Catholic teaching declares is between a man and a woman with the intention of creating new life, AP News reported.

If same-sex unions were to be blessed, it wrote, "this would be erroneous and misleading."

The Vatican clarified that there's a "fundamental and decisive distinction" between gay individuals and gay unions, adding that because the church can't bless unions does not mean it does not bless the person.

But the explanation also wrote that gay sex is "intrinsically disordered," adding that 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."

Francis has continued to endorse legal protections for gay couples in the "civil sphere" but "not within the church," AP reported, referencing comments made by the pope during an unreleased segment of a 2019 interview with Televisa. 

The public opinion towards gay marriage has been increasingly more supportive, with more than 6 out of 10 Catholics supporting same-sex marriage in the U.S., according to a 2019 Pew survey.

Critics have called the statement harsh and Marianne Duddy-Burke, the executive director of DignityUSA, told the Times that the line about "sin" is "going to cause tremendous pain and anger."