On March 15, 2021, Pope Francis signed a Vatican decree stating that the Catholic Church will not bless same-sex marriages. The decision came as a disappointment to many Catholics and LGBTQ+ community members who’d hoped for a more inclusive stance from the church.
The Catholic church recently had a complex take on whether it supports same-sex marriage. Conservative Catholics traditionally do not, typically citing Bible translations speaking against it, though the legitimacy of these translations is disputable. Current Pope Francis has advocated for legal rights for the LGBTQ+ community and has been coined a supporter. His avoidance of harsh disapproval of the topic has also worked to create this image.
However, while the Pope has expressed views less homophobic than his predecessors, his “support” merely resembles a lack of damnation. His signing of the March 15th decree proves this.
The decree states that God, “does not and cannot bless sin.” This is because “there are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family.” In other words, same-sex couples cannot produce children as God “willed,” therefore same-sex marriages should not be blessed.
Why it’s a problem
The Catholic Church’s current stance highlights a problematic and popular stance of social conservatives. It is a compromise agreeing that the LGBTQ+ community deserves basic rights, but their marriages will still be condemned.
This is not, nor will it ever be an acceptable compromise.
The current estimated number of Catholics in the world is approximately 1.2 billion people according to the BBC. Catholicism is designed to be deeply ingrained into the lives of its members from early childhood. Weekly attendance at mass, religious education, and sacred ceremonies throughout childhood is required. Thousands of LQBTQ+ children have been and continue to grow up under these expectations. They face the reality that an institution so deeply ingrained in their lives will never support their marriages or their attempts at happiness and fulfillment.
Telling a child that their mere existence is a sin is traumatic. Furthermore, telling a minority that you support them while in the same breath condemning their happiness is despicable. The bar was on the ground, and those who subscribe to this stance dug a tunnel beneath it.
This announcement is damaging despite the insistence that it is, “not intended to be a form of unjust discrimination.” This decree tells LGBTQ+ Catholics that they deserve to live, but not to love or be loved.
Those who claim this stance imply their support for the LGBTQ+ community by advocating for their rights. In reality, they are not doing a groundbreaking, saintly service by supporting basic human rights for human beings. Advocating for human rights isn’t supporting the community, it’s the bare minimum.