Pope Francis has attempted to further clarify the Vatican document permitting non-liturgical blessing for couples in same sex or irregular relationships, saying the newly authorised practice is a pastoral gesture directed at the people involved and not their union itself.
Speaking to members of the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF), Francis said the intention of offering “pastoral and spontaneous blessings” to couples in irregular situations, including same-sex couples and divorced and remarried couples, is to express pastoral closeness.
The decision, he said, is intended “to concretely show the closeness of the Lord and of the Church to all those who, finding themselves in different situations, ask for help to carry on – sometimes to begin – a journey of faith.”
He stressed that “these blessings, outside of any liturgical context and form, do not require moral perfection to be received”.
He also insisted that “when a couple spontaneously approaches to ask for is, the union is not blessed, but simply the people who have requested it together. Not the union, but the people, naturally taking into account the context, the sensitivities, and the places in which one lives and the most suitable ways to do so.”
Pope Francis spoke members of the DDF, led by Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, during their plenary assembly.
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