The Vatican published a document Monday saying the Catholic Church would not bless same-sex unions, a statement that likely let down a number of Catholics who identify as LGBT.
Now Pope Francis, whom progressive outlets like Rolling Stone have called the "cool pope," is being seen as not so cool after all for not being woke enough to betray thousands of years of Christian teaching.
What did the pope say?
In a response to the question to the Holy See of "Does the Church have the power to give the blessing to unions of persons of the same sex?" the Vatican responded, "Negative."
The pope-approved statement called homosexuality a choice and said God "does not and cannot bless sin," which means the church, too, cannot bless sin.
Blessings belong to the category of the sacramentals, whereby the Church “calls us to praise God, encourages us to implore his protection, and exhorts us to seek his mercy by our holiness of life." In addition, they “have been established as a kind of imitation of the sacraments, blessings are signs above all of spiritual effects that are achieved through the Church's intercession."
Consequently, in order to conform with the nature of sacramentals, when a blessing is invoked on particular human relationships, in addition to the right intention of those who participate, it is necessary that what is blessed be objectively and positively ordered to receive and express grace, according to the designs of God inscribed in creation, and fully revealed by Christ the Lord. Therefore, only those realities which are in themselves ordered to serve those ends are congruent with the essence of the blessing imparted by the Church.
For this reason, it is not licit to impart a blessing on relationships, or partnerships, even stable, that involve sexual activity outside of marriage (i.e., outside the indissoluble union of a man and a woman open in itself to the transmission of life), as is the case of the unions between persons of the same sex. The presence in such relationships of positive elements, which are in themselves to be valued and appreciated, cannot justify these relationships and render them legitimate objects of an ecclesial blessing, since the positive elements exist within the context of a union not ordered to the Creator's plan.
Furthermore, since blessings on persons are in relationship with the sacraments, the blessing of homosexual unions cannot be considered licit. This is because they would constitute a certain imitation or analogue of the nuptial blessing invoked on the man and woman united in the sacrament of Matrimony, while in fact “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."
No longer a 'cool pope'
Rolling Stone, the leftist progressive entertainment magazine, reported this story on its website under the banner headline "Guess the Cool Pope Isn't So Cool After All."
Pope Francis has gained a reputation among left-wing — many non-religious or non-Catholic — fans for being woke on issues near and dear to the left's heart (except, much to their lament, abortion). For example:
- The pope said last year that the coronavirus is "nature's response" to man's mistreatment of the environment.
- Last fall, the pontiff denounced trickle-down economics and private property and advocated for the redistribution of wealth in a papal encyclical.
- He used his 2020 Easter address to advocate for a socialist "universal basic wage."
- Francis was on record saying he was considering adding "ecological sin" to the church's official teachings in order to take on "sin against ecology ... against our common home."
- A couple years ago, there was discussion that the pope may allow married men to become ordained priests and thereby bring an end to celibacy.
- In December 2018, rumors swirled that the pope was considering the approval of a significant edit to the Lord's Prayer.
- He added environmentalism to the church's seven works of mercy in 2016.
- In October, the pope appeared to endorse same-sex civil unions in a documentary in which he discussed pastoral care for those who identify as LGBT. (The Vatican said the comments were taken out of context.)
- Last November, he praised NBA players for their racial justice protests.
So it's no wonder that the reporters and editors at Rolling Stone were taken aback by the pope daring to uphold 2,000 years of Christian teaching by calling homosexuality a sin and standing for traditional marriage.
In fact, the rag pointed out that it's got to be tough for the pope to be cool when he's running a backwards, two-millennia-old faith organization:
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 pope's critics, naturally, said he was somehow hypocritical for calling homosexuality a sin while numerous priests stand accused of pedophilia — a scandal the pope has condemned.