Pope Francis Reaffirms Church’s Stance on Sexual Relationships within Marriage; Addresses Criticism on Same-Sex Blessings

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Pope Francis has reiterated the Catholic Church’s stance on sexual relationships, emphasizing that they are only deemed permissible within the confines of marriage between a man and a woman. This affirmation comes amid recent discussions surrounding same-sex blessings and the Church’s position on them.

In response to backlash from Catholic conservatives regarding his recent declaration on the blessing of same-sex couples, the Pope clarified that while he has opened the door to such blessings, they are not to be incorporated into regular church rituals.

The Vatican’s document, issued by the Doctrine of the Faith on Thursday, emphasized that these blessings should not be associated with civil unions or weddings.

The landmark declaration issued by Pope Francis last month underscored the Church’s longstanding teaching that sexual relationships are sanctioned solely within heterosexual marriage.

Furthermore, the Vatican specified that local churches have the autonomy to interpret and implement the new guidelines regarding blessings as they see fit.

In December, the Pope released a declaration allowing for the blessing of “couples in irregular situations and same-sex couples without officially validating their status or altering the Church’s enduring doctrine on marriage.”

While the more lenient approach garnered praise in many Western countries, it faced criticism, notably from certain African nations. Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller of Germany went as far as labeling the guidelines as “blasphemy.” However, the Office for the Doctrine of the Faith rebuffed such criticism, firmly standing by the Pope’s stance on the matter.

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