CNWE Responds to Ban on Catholic Church Blessing of Same-Sex Unions

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It is with profound disappointment that the Catholic Network for Women’s Equality (CNWE) has read the Responsum of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith to the Dubium regarding Blessings of the Unions of Persons of the Same Sex. We  find unacceptable the conclusion of the Congregation that same-sex blessings are not possible, and that this is because “God does not bless sin.”

To equate love with sin distorts both the meaning of love and the meaning of sin.  We encourage the Church and in particular the Vatican to reflect more deeply on the biblical passage on love from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor 13:1-13), the passage so often read at weddings.  In particular, we point to the opening line: “If I speak in the tongues of persons or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” 

The question is not whether people of the same sex love each other.  Couples the world over have testified to this truth for decades. The question is whether leaders in the Vatican can understand their love, whether they can embrace this manifestation of love, and whether they can perceive the suffering they are causing to LGBTQ+ persons with this decree.  This decree opens the door further to bigotry and discrimination because of the Catholic Church’s influence in the world.With this response, the Catholic hierarchy fails to offer LGBTQ+ persons their blessing, protection, and love.

Again, we hear the words of St Paul: “If I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.” How well are our church leaders exemplifying the love St. Paul is calling for when he says, “Love is kind… it does not rejoice in wrongdoing but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things”? 

If we cannot respect the God-given gift of love in same-sex relationships among Catholics who are our friends, family, siblings, children – if we cannot bless this love, what then are we as Church?  We cannot make exceptions to love, based on a limited and judgmental understanding of diverse identities, and still claim to be following in the footsteps of Christ. We are called above all, to be a Church of welcome, belonging, and especially love.  

Let us be the church we are called to be and rejoice as the people of God in blessing genuine love in all its graced expressions.