Pope Francis hinted that the Catholic Church would be willing to grant same-sex couples blessings in answer to a group of cardinals seeking clarification on the subject.
The Pope highlighted that each request for a blessing should be handled with "pastoral charity" and that the Church shouldn't just ignore, reject, or exclude people. “We cannot serve as judges who merely exclude, reject, and deny,” he added.
However, Pope Francis also reaffirmed the Church's stance that same-sex relationships are "objectively sinful" and that the Church would not accept same-sex marriage. Although he seemed to modify his stance on blessings, he did not specify whether the unions or the people requesting the blessing would be blessed.
The Pope emphasized that asking for a blessing involves an appeal to God for assistance and a desire to live better, both of which should not be disregarded. He stressed the value of pastoral discretion and urged that such petitions for blessings should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Pope Francis upheld the Church's position that marriage is an "exclusive, stable, and indissoluble union between a man and a woman" and emphasized the need to avoid any rituals or sacramentals that would go against this notion.
This shift in focus is noteworthy, but it's also crucial to remember that Pope Francis signed a Vatican rule prohibiting priests from blessing same-sex nuptials in the spring of 2021, underscoring their sinfulness.
Pope Francis has worked to moderate the Church's tone on topics like sexuality during his pontificate. These efforts have provoked debate and protest from more traditionalist, conservative groups within the church.
In contrast, the Church of England took action in February to let same-sex couples seek services, such as prayers of devotion, thankfulness, and God's blessing, following a lawful marriage ceremony.