Pope Francis formally permitted Roman Catholic priests to bless same-sex couples on Monday, in a significant shift in Vatican doctrine.
The blessings may be carried out providing they are not part of regular Church rituals or liturgies, nor at the same time as a civil union, according to a Vatican document approved by the pope.
The latest ruling fleshes out the opening the pope made to blessing same-sex couples last October and marks a shift away from a 2021 ruling from the Vatican doctrine office which barred any blessings saying God “cannot bless sin.”
But since July 2023, the doctrine department has been led by Cardinal Victor Manuel Fernandez, an Argentinian prelate and ally of Francis, who has stuck a different tone to his predecessors.
“When people ask for a blessing, an exhaustive moral analysis should not be placed as a precondition for conferring it,” the declaration, authored by Cardinal Fernandez and another official, states. “The grace of God works in the lives of those who do not claim to be righteous but who acknowledge themselves humbly as sinners, like everyone else.”