Rightly or wrongly, Pope Francis has long enjoyed the reputation as the “cool pope,” a view that has been bolstered by, among other things, his public statements in support of the theory of evolution and a 2014 profile in the pages of this magazine. A documentary released last fall even appeared to suggest his emerging support for same-sex pairings.
As it turns out, however, it’s pretty difficult to be hip and woke and with-it if you’re the face of a retrograde thousands-year-old religious institution, as the Vatican clarified in a statement on Monday that it would not bless same-sex unions on the grounds that God “does not and cannot bless sin.”
The lengthy document, which was approved by Pope Francis, was issued by the Vatican’s top office the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in response to a question among the clergy whether the church had the “power to give the blessing to unions of persons of the same sex.” The document concluded that the “blessing of homosexual unions cannot be considered licit,” and that such a blessing would “approve and encourage a choice and a way of life that cannot be recognized, as objectively ordered to the revealed plans of God.”
The statement will likely come as a significant disappointment to millions of LGBTQ Catholics around the world, many of whom have expressed hope that the Catholic Church would revert its long-established disapproval of gay rights in response to seemingly supportive statements Pope Francis has made over the years about same-sex marriage.
While serving as archbishop of Buenos Aires, he had condoned same-sex unions as an alternative to church-sanctioned same-sex marriage. Most recently, Pope Francis seemed to express support for same-sex couples in a documentary made about his life, in which he said: “Homosexual people have a right to be in a family. They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out or be made miserable over it.” (The Vatican, however, quickly walked back on the comments, stating that they had been taken out of context.)
In response to the Vatican’s most recent statement regarding same-sex marriage, many on social media pointed out the church’s apparent hypocrisy in continuing to condemn LGBTQ rights while simultaneously allegedly turning a blind eye to pedophilia allegations within its ranks for decades. “The Catholic Church: *has deep ties to pedophilia* Also the Catholic Church: BUT THE GAYZZZZZZ THO,” one person tweeted in response to the news.