Pope Francis Says Critics of Gay Couples Blessings are Africans and ‘Small Ideological Groups’

Pope Francis Says Critics of Gay Couples Blessings are Africans and ‘Small Ideological Groups’

Defending the Vatican’s decision to allow blessings for same-sex couples, Pope Francis dismissed most critics as Africans and “small ideological groups.”

Pope Francis acknowledges cultural differences in an interview with the Italian newspaper La Stampa, stating according to Reuter, that African opposition stems from cultural disapproval of homosexuality.

Referring to the December 2023 document “Fiducia Supplicans” issued by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, which has sparked widespread debate within the Catholic Church, the pontiff emphasizes that the blessings are not an endorsement of same-sex relationships but a gesture of inclusion and pastoral care.

“Those who protest vehemently belong to small ideological groups,” Francis was quoted by Reuter as saying. “A special case are Africans: for them homosexuality is something ‘bad’ from a cultural point of view, they don’t tolerate it.”

“But in general, I trust that gradually everyone will be reassured by the spirit of the ‘Fiducia Supplicans’ declaration by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith: it aims to include, not divide,” the pope said.

The Holy Father further acknowledges the strong opposition from some African bishops to be due to legal penalties against same-sex relationships in their countries. He emphasizes the need for careful consideration of local context and cultural sensitivities when offering blessings.

Despite strong opposition from some theological conservatives, Pope Francis remains undeterred in his stance. Moving forward, he advises against focusing on concerns of schism, attributing them to small groups and urging the Church to move forward.

“We must leave them to it and move on … and look forward,” he said.

In his remarks at the plenary session of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith last Friday Pope reiterates that the Church’s teachings on marriage remain unchanged, and these blessings do not equate to marriage or validate same-sex unions.

He emphasized that blessings are for individuals, not their union, and should be offered with sensitivity to local contexts

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