On the Vatican’s same-sex unions judgement

Caroline Hendrix, Senior Writer

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the organization responsible for both proclaiming and interpreting Catholic doctrine, disclosed a response on the blessing of same-sex unions on March 15. In this response, they refused to accept same-sex unions as equal to the union between a man and a women, and even go as far as calling such a union a sin. I grew up in this faith, learning and believing that love is love in whatever different forms it may be seen in. I was taught to be compassionate to everything and everyone, but does this letter try to tell us that unconditional love is actually conditional? Is the Vatican trying to identify only certain forms of love as legitimate while discounting others?

It looks like the answer is yes.

It is important to dissect this letter. The letter starts with a question: “Does the Church have the power to give the blessing to unions of persons of the same sex?” Right below that is the response from the Vatican: “Negative.” Negative? The Church has a nontrivial population of members in same-sex relationships, yet still refuses to bless same-sex unions. The letter goes on to say that the Vatican cannot do so because a same-sex union is “a union not ordered to the Creator’s plan.” What adds confusion to this letter is that it acknowledges that “positive elements” do exist within same-sex relationships but they still cannot accept them as legitimate.

In the same note that the Vatican is trying to relate relationships between a man and women to relationships of the same-sex, they relate the blessing of same-sex unions to the blessing of a sin, explaining that people in those relationships will be blessed themselves by God so that they might “be changed by him.” This is a horrible explanation for their response. Using the God that the faithful people within this Church believe in against them, and continually claiming that He wants to change them instead of accepting them for who they are does not give enough reasoning for why the Vatican cannot make positive change.

As someone who grew up Catholic and attended a Catholic high school, I am very sad to see this. I watched in high school as girls who identified as a part of the LGBTQ+ community fought to bring other girls to prom. I cannot begin to imagine what it feels like to have faith in a Church that refuses to make change to include every relationship as one that should be celebrated. It is also incredibly surprising that Pope Francis approved of this note because it had seemed in the past few years that he had taken strides to modernize the Church. Although the New York Times explains that while the pope “believed that gay couples deserved civil protections, including legal rights and health care benefits,” he later clarified that “his comments had not marked a change in church doctrine.” This same article explains that many parishes have already been “celebrating” blessings of same-sex unions, so why cannot church doctrine be altered to match what many within the Church are already doing?  

It is time for change. It is time for a Church that only blesses some unions to bless all unions and for a Church that claims to show compassion for all to actually show compassion for all, regardless of their sexual orientation.

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