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Pope Francis Formally Approves Allowing Priests to Bless Same-Sex Couples

Pope Francis has officially approved the allowing of Catholic priests to bless same-sex couples, a rather sharp turn in policy that focused on ensuring inclusivity at the church while maintaining a strict ban on gay marriage. 

The document from the Vatican’s doctrine office elaborates on a letter Francis sent to two conservative cardinals that was published in October. In that preliminary response, Francis suggested such blessings could be offered under some circumstances if the blessings were not confused with the ritual of marriage.

A document from the Vatican’s doctrine office expressed that “marriage is a lifelong union between a man and a woman.” It further stated that “blessings in question must not be tied to any specific Catholic celebration or religious service and should not be conferred at the same time as a civil union ceremony. Moreover, the blessings cannot use set rituals or even involve the clothing and gestures that belong in a wedding.”

However, this is not the first time Pope Francis has eased the acceptance of the LGBTQ+community to the church. Last month, the Vatican allowed trans people to be baptized as Catholics and even serve as godparents.

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