Did Pope Francis Legitimise Same-Sex Marriage? What Does The Vatican Announcement Mean?

Does it mean that Pope Francis, and by extension, the Catholic Church, will now recognise same-sex marriages as legitimate?

by Tooba Shaikh
Did Pope Francis Legitimise Same-Sex Marriage? What Does The Vatican Announcement Mean?

In a landmark move, the leader of the Catholic Church stated that priests should be permitted to “bless” same-sex marriages. For many of us who aren’t well-versed in the nitty gritty of the Catholic faith, this has been a confusing statement. What does it mean? Does it mean that Pope Francis, and by extension, the Catholic Church, will now recognise same-sex marriages as legitimate? If not, why is the move so significant? If you’ve been troubled with similar queries, read on and learn the answers.

Did Pope Francis Legitimise Same-Sex Marriage?

pope francis same sex marriage
Image Credits: Canva Images (Representational)

The shortest and simplest answer is no. The latest proclamation by the Pope does not legitimise same-sex marriage. Neither does it mean that homosexuality is no longer a sin. What it simply says is that it will be possible for priests to bless the union of what the church terms “irregular couples”. Irregular couples, in addition to same-sex couples, also include those who are living together without marriage.

Such unions were deemed unholy and sinful by the church and priests weren’t allowed to “bless” their union. This hasn’t technically changed even with the latest Vatican announcement. To understand what the shift is, we need to understand what “blessing” means for catholicism. When priests offer blessings for a couple, they invite God to look favourably upon their union.

It is usually done in liturgies which are quite specific. The Vatican statement says that priests still cannot bless unions of irregular couples in the same way that heterosexual catholic or regular couples are blessed. Instead, they can only give their blessings if the union does not have any ritualisation and does not resemble or give an impression of marriage.

Also Read: Nepal Officially Registered Its 1st Same-Sex Marriage; Becomes 1st South Asian Country To Do So

What Does The Vatican Announcement Mean?

pope francis same sex marriage
Image Credits: Canva Images (Representational)

Instead, it would be appropriate to say that the Pope has introduced a new kind of blessing. According to an article published by the Catholic Herald, the declaration by the Vatican allows for “non-liturgical and spontaneous pastoral blessing.”  For all intents and purposes, this new kind of “blessing” is to Same-Sex couples what a “diet” version of a beverage is to someone trying to be healthier, a consolation.

It is still a door shut in the face of same-sex couples asking for legitimacy, only this time, the door is shut with a quieter bang. It doesn’t give legitimacy or recognition to their union, only a patronising copy of it. Many are still viewing it as a softening of approach within the Catholic Church. Others, however, are rightly upset about yet again being treated as inferiors. Matt Cain of The Guardian convincingly called the move a PR exercise and many agree.

Also Read: Once A Refuge Space For The Queer Community, This San Francisco Cafeteria Is Now A Historic Landmark

Do you think this move is good or is it just a hollow attempt to appease the masses? Let us know in the comments section below!

Cover Image Credits: Canva Images (Representational)

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