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Tags: pope francis | declaration | catholic | same sex | theologian

Catholic Theologians, Leaders Push Back on Pope's Gay Blessings

By    |   Tuesday, 19 December 2023 12:41 PM EST

The mainstream media's portrayal of Pope Francis' declaration concerning same-sex couples is not entirely accurate, a respected Catholic theologian told Newsmax.

Francis formally approved allowing priests to bless same-sex couples, with the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith earlier this week issuing a new document explaining that people seeking God’s love and mercy shouldn’t be subject to "an exhaustive moral analysis" to receive it.

Mainstream media outlets appeared eager to take the news to indicate that the Pope's directive was a step closer to the church blessing same-sex marriages.

CNN said the directive was "a significant shift in the church’s approach to LGBTQ+ people."

The New York Times reported that the declaration was "celebrated by those who said that the decision was a substantial step in moving the church toward greater acceptance of L.G.B.T.Q. Catholics," and quoted a person saying the directive "was proof that church teaching can — and does — change."

The Washington Post reported that the declaration was "a decree that amounts to an about-face after decades of discord between the LBGTQ+ community and the Catholic Church."

That is not the case, said Dr. John Grabowski, associate professor of moral theology/ethics at The Catholic University of America.

"I saw the same headlines and the same spin, and that’s basically all that it is, is spin," Grabowski told Newsmax from his Washington, D.C., office on Tuesday.

"What the document actually says is there's no change in the church's teaching on marriage, on sexuality, or in its liturgical practice."

Grabowski explained that such a blessing is "not a formal liturgical thing, so it can’t be connected to a same-sex 'wedding' for example."

He also told Newsmax that Popes are "custodians" of the church and cannot change its teaching.

"The church and her leadership, which is kind of personified in the person of the Pope, can make alterations in the way the church’s liturgy is celebrated," Grabowski told Newsmax. "The church cannot institute a liturgical change that calls into question a definitive dogmatic teaching of the church.

"If someone were to say, Oh, the Pope could say we’re going to start doing same-sex weddings and think of them as sacramental marriages,' no, the Pope can’t do that. The Pope as no authority to that."

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCBB) issued a statement Wednesday saying the Vatican's declaration "articulated a distinction between liturgical (sacramental) blessings, and pastoral blessings, which may be given to persons who desire God’s loving grace in their lives."

"The church’s teaching on marriage has not changed, and this declaration affirms that, while also making an effort to accompany people through the imparting of pastoral blessings because each of us needs God’s healing love and mercy in our lives," USCBB said in its statement.

Soon after the document from the Vatican’s doctrine office was released, conservatives within the church expressed dismay.

Bishop Joseph Strickland, who last month was removed from his duties in the diocese of Tyler, Texas, asked other bishops to "join with a voice of strength and joy in the Lord in these last days of Advent and say  'No' to this latest document, and ask for a clarification of the true teachings of our Catholic faith."

"We really simply need to be a united voice saying, No, we will not respond to this, we will not incorporate this into the life of the church because we simply must say no," Strickland told Life Site News in a video statement. "It needs to be a united voice.

"In history, with the kinds of issues that we’re facing, a Pope would call for a council. That isn’t likely to happen now. But we need a united voice, something like a council, to address the confusion and the issues that continually arise to know the truth if Jesus Christ that is unchanging."

Charlie McCarthy

Charlie McCarthy, a writer/editor at Newsmax, has nearly 40 years of experience covering news, sports, and politics.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


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The mainstream media's portrayal of Pope Francis' declaration concerning same-sex couples is not entirely accurate, a respected Catholic theologian told Newsmax. Francis formally approved allowing priests to bless same-sex couples, with the Vatican's Dicastery for the...
pope francis, declaration, catholic, same sex, theologian
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2023-41-19
Tuesday, 19 December 2023 12:41 PM
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