Once again, Pope Francis has shocked
the global Catholic LGBTQ+ community.
week, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican’s
orthodoxy office, issued a formal statement instructing its priests
not to offer blessings for same-sex couples. The church’s
reason: God cannot bless sin. To the shock of LGBTQ+ Catholics and
allies globally, Pope Francis approved the decree. His approval of
the decree is a betrayal despite the many liberal-leaning LGBTQ+
positive pronouncements heard during his papacy.
example, in 2013, while flying home after a weeklong visit to Brazil,
Francis responded to a question about a possible “gay lobby”
in the Vatican. His answer set off global shock waves. “When I
meet a gay person, I have to distinguish between their being gay and
being part of a lobby,” he said. “If they accept the Lord
and have goodwill, who am I to judge them?” The pontiff’s
public statement was then the most LGBTQ+ affirming remark the world
had ever heard from the Catholic Church.
October 2020, while being interviewed for the documentary “Francesco”
about his life, Francis made a full-throated endorsement of same-sex
civil unions. Again, setting off global shock waves.
people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God,”
the pontiff said in the film by Oscar-nominated director Evgeny
Afineevsky. “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.” Francis’s
statement was a Hallelujah moment for many LGBTQ+ Catholics. It
optimistically suggested a game-changer - having dogma-transforming
ramifications - for the church in this 21st century, despite
conservatives priests still hell-bent to continue on an
anti-modernity track of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI.
from the fact that the decree is bad theology, executing the decree
will be a pox on the church. The decree is damning of LGBTQ+ love in
its messaging, and it is punitive in its intent. The decree will
cause harm and hurt to a community of worshippers that loves a church
that doesn’t love them.
Vatican’s denial of blessings to same-sex couples will
exacerbate the pain and anger of LGBTQI Catholics and our families,”
Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director of DignityUSA, which is
based here in Boston, stated in a press release.
statement is hurtful to same-sex couples and dismissive of the grace
demonstrated by same-sex couples who live deeply loving and committed
relationships. It harms families of LGBTQ+ people, and young LGBTQ+
people who hoped the church would be more affirming, and even hoped
to be married in the church someday.”
the Vatican’s orthodoxy office is tone-deaf to the universal
message that “love is love.” However, if the Vatican
hierarchy doesn’t understand anything else about LGBTQ+
Christians, it needs to understand this: Gay people love Jesus just
as much as straight people do. Our love should be acknowledged and
our unions blessed. Our biggest support for the movement in that
direction, at least thought, was Pope Francis.
back, however, I can say Pope Francis’s support of civil unions
was merely lip-service. Francis’s statement about civil unions
was understood it didn’t mean he or the church would embrace
between people of the same sex? ‘Marriage’ is a
historical word. Always in humanity, and not only within the Church,
it’s between a man and a woman… we cannot change that.
This is the nature of things. This is how they are. Let’s call
them “civil unions.,” Francis stated in 2017 to New Ways
Ministry, a pro-LGBTQ Catholic organization.
since marriage equality was out of the question, the LGBTQ community
queried whether Pope Francis would follow through on same-sex civil
unions, especially with his 2020 verbal support. Regrettably, Francis
has shown to be the consummate flip-flopper. He has been consistent
in his inconsistency toward us. However, proponents of the Vatican’s
decree would contest that Francis’s support of same-sex civil
unions referred not to the church but rather to the state.
Nonetheless, Francis’s support of the Vatican’s decree
not to bless same-sex couples’ unions will hurt those who saw
the pontiff as a transformative figure.
the surface, Francis displays a pastoral countenance to his papacy
that appears inclusive and extending to its LGBTQ parishioners.
However, Francis double-speaks when it comes to our issues and
upholds a double standard for full church inclusion.
Catholic Church still excludes the LGBTQ+ community from officially
receiving any sacraments. Since 2015, DignityUSA has been advocating
for “sacramental equality” in the Catholic Church. With
COVID-19 death rates hitting the LGBTQ community globally as hard as
other minority communities worldwide, one would think the church
could put aside its homophobia.
pastoral demeanor cloaks the iron-fisted church bureaucrat that he
is. Regrettably, it took this moment for many to see it clearly.