Pope Francis has suggested that the Catholic Church could bless same-sex couples, in a move that LGBTQ+ advocates have welcomed.
In an interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, the Pope said that “homosexuality is not a sin” and that “we must always welcome and respect people, regardless of their sexual orientation.”
He said, “The Church can bless same-sex couples but cannot marry them.” This distinction is based on the Catholic Church’s belief that marriage is a sacrament between one man and one woman.
The Pope’s comments have been welcomed by LGBTQ+ advocates, who have long called for the Church to be more inclusive of same-sex couples.
“This is a historic step forward for the Catholic Church,” said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign. “Pope Francis is sending a clear message that LGBTQ+ people are loved and valued by God.”
However, the Pope’s comments have also been criticized by some conservative Catholics, who believe that the Church should not bless same-sex couples in any way.
“The Pope’s comments are a betrayal of Catholic teaching,” said Cardinal Raymond Burke, a leading conservative Catholic. “The Church cannot bless something sinful.”
How the Catholic Church will implement the Pope’s comments remains to be seen. However, his words indicate that the Church is becoming more open to accepting same-sex couples.