Catholic Church to stop blessing same-sex marriages

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creative commons image by Catholic Church

Pope Francis delivers a speech in Vatican City in 2017. Pope Francis signed off on the union statement banning the blessing of same-sex marriage in the Catholic Church.

Carter Stratmann, Social Media Editor

On Monday, March 15th, the Catholic church in Vatican City would no longer bless same-sex marriages as they cannot bless a “sin”, explained in a union statement approved by Pope Francis. As countries all around the world are becoming more progressive and granting the right of marriage to same-sex couples, the Church has seemed to take a step backwards.

Same-sex marriage has become more widely accepted in society in recent years. In 2010, it was only legal in ten countries. By 2020, this number has increased to thirty countries. With many LGBTQ members hoping that the church would accept them, the Vatican’s decision took a step in the other direction, separating the future of the church from young community members.

“There are already many opposing beliefs between religious and gay communities,” said junior Jack Distad. “When you see a figure like the Pope have negative views towards same-sex marriage, you expect that the people who look up to him are going to do the same. It’s scary how many people will look at what the church thinks and immediately change their views.”

In the past, the Catholic Church has generally had very negative views towards same-sex marriages. In 2010, Pope Benedict XVI described gay marriage as “insidious and dangerous” after visiting Portugal just four days before it became legal. The Pope changed this narrative when he openly spoke on his opinion of same-sex marriage in 2019.

“Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God,” Francis said. “You can’t kick someone out of a family, nor make their life miserable for this. What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered.”

During this interview with pope Francis, he acknowledged that same-sex marriage should be recognized as legitimate. His previous stance on the topic was not public, but many had speculated that he was a supporter of the LGBTQ community. When his response was brought up to the church, they were quick to dismiss it and argue that it was “taken out of context.”

“I think that it is very deceptive that the Pope would openly support same-sex marriage and then turn around and do this,” Distad stated. “As someone who identifies as gay, it doesn’t feel like genuine support when he said positive things about gay marriage and then supports a statement that doesn’t accept it.”

The statement notes that this decision was not made to discriminate against same-sex couples, and reminds readers that God still loves all of his children regardless of sexual orientation. It argues that the Catholic Church cannot bless same-sex unions because they do not fit the definition of what marriage should be. It notes that they do not fit “God’s plan for marriage and family.”

No marriage should be more special than another”

— Ben Jackals

Junior Ben Jackals believes that although same-sex marriage should be legalized throughout the world, the church should not be obligated to bless these unions, as it goes against the scripture of the bible. He acknowledges that not everyone follows the same religious beliefs, and religion should not have any influence on the law, so the church should not be able to control who one is able to marry. Despite this, the Catholic Church should be able to follow its religious beliefs, even if it means stopping the blessings of same-sex unions. 

Contradicting the entirety of its message, the statement goes on to explain that it will still bless same-sex marriages under certain circumstances. Even though the document reads that “the Church does not have, and cannot have, the power to bless unions of persons of the same sex,” it reserves the power to do so when the partners have been avid Christians.

“I just don’t understand why they would pick and choose when it’s acceptable.” stated Jackals. “If they argue that they ‘cannot’ bless gay marriage then why are they able to all of the sudden?” 

Jackals later added that “No marriage should be more special than another” and that if the Catholic Church is going to be accepting of any same-sex unions, they should also recognize the rest.

The statement has resulted in backlash from those in support of same-sex unions. Since the announcement, #PopeFrancis has been trending on Twitter, cluttered with images depicting the Pope in a negative light. Many depict Pope Francis as being two-faced, a nod to his change of opinion surrounding same-sex unions.

Distad believes that the backlash is well-deserved. He said that if Pope Francis had been open about his beliefs and stayed true to his word, there would not be an issue. The fact that he approved the union statement while publicly stating the opposite is what caused the recent controversy.

Although the statement released by the Catholic Church may distance members of the LGBTQ community from the center of Vatican City, many supporters have come forth, comforting those affected by the statement. With the presence of a major grey area surrounding same-sex marriage in religious settings, there are many inconsistencies in people’s beliefs. No two people have the exact same definition of what is right or wrong, but it is important to accept and be open-minded to progressive ideas.

  Junior Ben Jackals, “No marriage should be more special than another.”