Pope Francis this week again defended the Vatican’s controversial document authorizing blessings for same-sex couples, with the Holy Father arguing that humans “must all respect each other” and stating that blessings should be extended to “everyone.”
The pope’s comments come from an exclusive Italian-language interview he gave to the Italian weekly print periodical Credere, which will be available in newsstands across Italy on Thursday.
When asked by editor Father Vincenzo Vitale about Fiducia Supplicans — the December document published by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF) that authorized nonliturgical blessings for same-sex couples and others in “irregular situations” — the pope said that “the gravest sins … are those that disguise themselves with a more ‘angelic’ appearance.”
“No one is scandalized if I give a blessing to an entrepreneur who perhaps exploits people: and this is a very serious sin,” the Holy Father said. “Whereas they are scandalized if I give it to a homosexual … This is hypocrisy! We must all respect each other. Everyone.”
“I don’t bless a ‘homosexual marriage,’” the pope said. “I bless two people who love each other and I also ask them to pray for me.”
“Always in confessions, when these situations arrive, homosexual people, remarried people, I always pray and bless,” he continued. “The blessing is not to be denied to anyone. Everyone, everyone. Mind you, I am talking about people: those who are capable of receiving baptism,” Francis continued.
Pope Francis has come to the defense of the document several times since its publication. In a Jan. 26 audience with members of the DDF, the pope said that “moral perfection” isn’t a requirement for receiving a blessing.
The intent of the blessings, the pope said at the time, is “to concretely show the closeness of the Lord and of the Church to all those who, finding themselves in different situations, ask help to carry on — sometimes to begin — a journey of faith.”
Those comments came after the 87-year-old pontiff appeared on the Italian prime-time TV talk show “Che Tempo Che Fa” on Jan. 14, which he joined via livestream from his residence at Casa Santa Marta.
Answering questions regarding Fiducia Supplicans, the pope said that “the Lord blesses everyone who is capable of being baptized, that is, every person.”
“But we are to take them by the hand and help them go down that road, not condemn them from the beginning,” he told the network. “And this is the pastoral work of the Church. This is very important work for confessors.”
The pope’s comments at Credere come amid continuing controversy over Fiducia Supplicans, which has been met with widespread criticism and concern centered on how it might be misconstrued. Backlash has come particularly from Church leaders in Africa and Eastern Europe.
Credere, which is part of the San Paolo Editorial Group and available only in print, was established on the occasion of the election of Pope Francis in 2013.
It is distributed throughout Italy with a weekly circulation of 60,000 copies and 200,000 readers, the Italian daily newspaper La Stampa reported.
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