Is Vatican right to still deny blessing same-sex marriages?
- The Vatican has been the head of the Catholic Church since 4th century A.D. with the construction of a basilica over St. Peter’s grave in Rome. It is the “spiritual center” for 1.2 billion Catholics.
- On March 13, 2013, Pope Francis became the 266th pope of the Roman Catholic Church.
- On October 21, Pope Francis stated his support for civil union between same-sex couples, changing the trajectory of traditionalism in the Catholic church. In the documentary Francesco, Pope Francis commented that “Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family. [...] What we have to create is a civil union law.”
- On Monday, March 15, the Vatican released an official statement denying the Church’s power to bless same sex unions, saying “it is not licit” to bless relationships outside of marriage between a man and a woman. The Vatican Press, however, noted that homosexual individuals should be “welcomed with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.”
- According to Pew Research, increased acceptance of homosexuality has gradually shifted over the past two decades around the globe with Sweden, the Netherlands, Spain, and France being the most agreeable.
The Vatican absolutely had the right to declare it would continue to deny blessings to same-sex marriages. The logic is simple: the Bible specifically addresses that marriage is between a man and woman and that homosexuality is a sin. In the Vatican's rightful argument, it stated that 'God cannot bless sin' and has previously said that according to its beliefs and teachings, 'same-sex marriages are not part of God's plan for families and raising children.'
However, the recent declaration is not spiteful towards those in same-sex relationships or marriages; as Pope Francis noted, gay individuals are still 'children of God' who may be blessed overall. He also acknowledged legal civil unions, even if such is considered sinful according to the Catholic religion. This is important in recognizing that the Catholic church has been surprisingly accepting of the issue but will continue to stick to its convictions. The Pope has also provided past commentary that he approves of gay couples being able to raise a family.
The Vatican's announcement was also rightful in its necessity. Pope Francis has been one of the most LGBTQ+ friendly popes to date, which is refreshing in that he's acting on another Biblical perspective that God is the ultimate judge; likewise, it reminds human sinners not to judge others to the point of condemnation without pointing them to Jesus' saving grace or acknowledging their own sin. However, clarification was perhaps necessary for preserving the ideologies of the faith. It also provides closure, as the Vatican has now made itself abundantly clear on keeping its historic stance on the heavily debated topic. Plus, it is not wrong or hypocritical for Christians to stand by historical tenants their religion explicitly upholds and condemns.
Love is love, and there is no difference between celebrating homosexual love and homosexual marriages. According to NPR, the Vatican said, 'its declaration is not meant to be 'unjust discrimination.'' However, this is discrimination, and it certainly is unjust considering, as the Vatican also claimed it wants Catholics 'to welcome with respect and sensitivity persons with homosexual inclinations.' How can Catholics be expected to respect LGBTQ+ people when their relationships and marriages aren't even respected or recognized by their religion?
Even if it did make sense for Catholics to be told to respect people whose marriages aren't recognized by their religion, it's hypocritical of the Vatican to claim they can't recognize same-sex marriage because it is 'not part of God's plan for families and raising children.' In Francesco, a documentary on Pope Francis' life, he is quoted saying, 'Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family [. . .] They're children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out or be made miserable because of it.' Not being permitted to have their marriage blessed by their church certainly will make people feel miserable and excluded from 'the family.'
Over the last decade, there has been an especially strong shift towards the acceptance of homosexuality in most societies and cultures. As one of the oldest religions, it may be time for Catholicism to progress in the direction that most of the world is headed. Perhaps the Catholic Church should consider progressing and modernizing their views rather than condemning loving marriages and refusing to bless them.