The Vatican's same-sex blessing approval: What is Pope Francis doing?

The pope rocked the Catholic world by giving the green light to blessing same-sex couples, with plenty of caveats

Pope Francis opposite a statue of Saint Peter, with LGBTQ colours
Pope Francis just put down a "landmark and milestone in the church's relationship with LGBTQ people that can't be overestimated or overstated"
(Image credit: Illustrated / Getty Images)

The Vatican surprised everyone Monday with a document approved by Pope Francis that invites priests to bless same-sex couples, so long as the blessing doesn't imply equivalence with the sacrament of marriage. The declaration from the Vatican's Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith supersedes a 2021 document that rejected the idea of blessing same-sex unions, because "God cannot bless sin." 

The eight-page declaration, "Fiducia supplicans: On the Pastoral Meaning of Blessings," is Pope Francis' "most definitive step yet to make the Roman Catholic Church more welcoming to LGBTQ Catholics and more reflective of his vision of a more pastoral, and less rigid, church," The New York Times assessed. 

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