March 15, 2021 - DignityUSA, the organization of Catholics working for justice, equality, and full inclusion of LGBTQI people in the church and society, is deeply disappointed by the Vatican’s statement unequivocally denying blessings to same-sex couples. It says the statement that God “does not and cannot bless sin” is pastorally harmful and will widen the wedge between Catholics and church leadership.
Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director of DignityUSA, said, “The Vatican’s denial of blessings to same-sex couples will exacerbate the pain and anger of LGBTQI Catholics and our families. This statement is hurtful to same-sex couples, and dismissive of the grace demonstrated by same-sex couples who live deeply loving and committed relationships. It harms families of LGBTQ+ people, and young LGBTQ+ people who hoped the church would be more affirming, and even hoped to be married in the church someday.”
Duddy-Burke continued, “DignityUSA has been blessing and marrying same-sex couples for 50 years and is committed to gaining equal access to the sacraments for LGBTQ+ people. We have been privileged to witness the amazing tenacity and profound love of same-sex couples who have been together for 45, 50 years or more. They remained committed despite lack of social supports, their relationships being considered illegal and immoral, and family rejection. If these people are not models of grace deserving of every blessing, I don’t know who are.”
Duddy-Burke also said that the statement is likely an attempt to shut down calls for consideration of blessings of same-sex couples from the German bishops and others. She said that will be unsuccessful. “Significant numbers of Catholics, even majorities in many parts of the world, already affirm and celebrate the relationships their gay and lesbian family members and friends have created. They happily attend and celebrate our marriages and shower their blessings upon us. They show that they understand the church’s own theology, that teaches that the commitment a couple makes to one another is sacramental, is holy. The rest of those in attendance, including a priest, are witnesses to that sacred act.”
In October of last year, in response to reports on Pope Francis’ comments expressing support for same-sex civil union laws, which were later stepped back by the Vatican, DignityUSA urged the Pope to take steps to “enshrine support for same-sex couples, LGBTQI individuals, and our families in official Catholic teachings.” Today’s statement represents a disappointing step backwards.
DignityUSA said today’s statement is a setback, but pledged to continue to marry same-sex couples and other LGBTQI people, and to work for the time when the rest of the church does so as well.
DignityUSA is the world’s largest membership organization of Catholics committed to justice, equality and full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer and transgender people in our church and society. Founded in 1969, it is also a founding member of the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics