Pope Francis has indicated his willingness to consider allowing the Catholic Church to bless same-sex couples. In response to a group of cardinals seeking clarity on the matter, the Pope

emphasized the importance of treating requests for blessings with "pastoral charity" rather than solely denying or excluding them.

He acknowledged that the Church still views same-sex relationships as "objectively sinful" and does not recognize same-sex marriage. However, he stressed the need for a more compassionate approach, stating that the Church should not be limited to "judges who only deny, reject, and exclude."

The request for clarification was among several sent to the Pope ahead of a global meeting at the Vatican to discuss the future of the Church. While bishops in some countries, including Belgium and Germany, have allowed priests to bless same-sex couples, the official stance of Church authorities remained unclear.

In 2021, the Vatican's doctrinal office rejected a similar request for allowing such blessings. In his recent response, Pope Francis affirmed the Church's belief in marriage as an "exclusive, stable, and indissoluble union between a man and a woman" and cautioned against any rites or sacraments that contradicted this belief.

However, he suggested that blessings could be seen as pleas to God for help and better living, and that "pastoral prudence" should discern whether certain forms of blessing, requested by individuals, align with the Church's convictions about marriage.

The Pope hinted at a case-by-case approach, emphasizing that decisions based on pastoral prudence in specific circumstances should not necessarily become the norm. He also noted that canon law cannot cover all situations and underscored the importance of approaching relationships with kindness, patience, understanding, tenderness, and encouragement.

In February, senior figures in the Church of England voted in favor of permitting prayers of blessing for same-sex couples, allowing them to seek services like prayers of dedication, thanksgiving, and God's blessing in Anglican churches after a legal marriage ceremony. Photo by Long Thiên, Wikimedia commons.