By David Brophy
In a decree issued on Monday, the Vatican said that the Catholic Church cannot bless same-sex unions since God "cannot bless sin."
The Vatican’s orthodoxy office issued the decree in response to a formal question on whether Catholic clergy can bless gay unions.
The two-page explanation from the Vatican sought to differentiate between the church's policy of the welcoming and blessing of gay people and the sacramental recognition of marriage.
The Vatican believes that homosexual people should be treated with dignity and respect.
However they believe that gay sex is “intrinsically disordered.”
The Catholic doctrine believes that marriage is a lifelong union between a man and a woman and is intended for the sake of creating new life.
Therefore since gay unions are not intended to be part of that plan, they cannot be blessed by the church, the document said.
“The presence in such relationships of positive elements, which are in themselves to be valued and appreciated, cannot justify these relationships and render them legitimate objects of an ecclesial blessing, since the positive elements exist within the context of a union not ordered to the Creator’s plan,” it read.
God “does not and cannot bless sin: He blesses sinful man, so that he may recognise that he is part of his plan of love and allow himself to be changed by him,” it added.
In the article, the Vatican stressed the “fundamental and decisive distinction” between gay individuals and gay unions, noting that “the negative judgment on the blessing of unions of persons of the same sex does not imply a judgment on persons.”
The Vatican said that blessing a same-sex union could give the impression of a kind of sacramental equivalence to marriage. “This would be erroneous and misleading,” the article said.
With aditional reporting from Agencies