Pope Softening on Same-Gender Unions

(TotalConservative.com) – While being questioned ahead of a Vatican meeting, Pope Francis revealed this week that he is open to blessing gay couples in the Catholic Church, although only as civil unions and not as marriages. The pope also reaffirmed the tradition of banning women from the priesthood.

On Monday, the Vatican released an eight-page reply from September 25 to questions posed by five retired Catholic cardinals who are also conservative. The cardinals expressed concerns on various issues they expect the pope to address at the Vatican meeting happening throughout October, called the Synod of Bishops.

The pope gave few absolute answers, but he expressed that he’s open to blessing some unions between two men or two women as long as they aren’t trying to receive the sacrament of marriage, which the Catholic church still defines as strictly between one man and one woman that is “exclusive, stable and indissoluble” and “naturally open to begetting children.” Francis said this is the only union that can be “called ‘marriage.’”

Despite holding to the definition, the pope said the Church “cannot become judges who only reject, deny, and exclude.” He said “forms of blessing” must be “adequately” discerned by means of “pastoral prudence” to make sure they are not transmitting “a mistaken concept of marriage.”

Francis also responded to questions about whether or not women should be allowed into the Catholic priesthood. The pope gave a more definitive answer of “no,” affirming the 1994 declaration by St. Pope John Paul II that the “Church has no authority” to ordain women priests “and that this judgment is to be definitively held” by all faithful Catholics. Francis said the deceased pope wasn’t “denigrating women” while elevating men with “supreme power.”

The pope, referring to “cultural changes and new historical challenges” that put pressure on old institutions like the Church, said these changes “do not modify revelation” but “can stimulate” ways to better interpret scripture.

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