Pope Francis Allows Priests to Bless Same-Sex Couples


Pope Francis Allows Priests to Bless Same-Sex Couples

A church official said the blessings amounted to “a real development” that nevertheless did

Pope Francis waving to crowds at the Vatican.
Pope Francis at the Vatican last year. The decision to allow blessings was based on his “pastoral vision,” officials said. Credit…Andreas Solaro/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Reporting from Rome

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The Vatican said Monday that Pope Francis had allowed priests to bless same-sex couples, his most definitive step yet to make the Roman Catholic Church more welcoming to L.G.B.T.Q. Catholics and more reflective of his vision of a more pastoral, and less rigid, church.

The Vatican had long said it could not bless same-sex couples because it would undermine church doctrine that marriage is only between a man and a woman.

But the new rule made clear that a blessing of a same-sex couple was not the same as a marriage sacrament, a formal ceremonial rite. It also stressed that it was not blessing the relationship, and that, to avoid confusion, blessings should not be imparted during or connected to the ceremony of a civil or same-sex union, or when there are “any clothing, gestures or words that are proper to a wedding.”