Influential cardinal says God will not deny same-sex couples a blessing

Influential cardinal says God will not deny same-sex couples a blessing Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schönborn. Photo: CNS

Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schönborn has insisted that he believes gay couples who ask God for a blessing “will not be denied.”

He was speaking after the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a statement – approved by Pope Francis – reiterating the Church’s ban on priests blessing same-sex unions. The decree said that God “does not and cannot bless sin”.

Cardinal Schönborn – an influential theologian who served as editorial secretary for the Catechism of the Catholic Church – insisted that “the question of whether same-sex couples can be blessed belongs to the same category as the question of whether this is possible for remarried persons or unions contracted without a marriage licence”.

“If the request for a blessing is not a show – so not just a kind of a superficial rite – if the request for the blessing is honest, if it is truly the request for God’s blessing for the life path that these two people, in whatever condition they find themselves in, are trying to make, then this blessing will not be denied them,” the cardinal told Der Sonntag, a weekly magazine of the Vienna Archdiocese.

The 76-year-old prelate said the Vatican has a “legitimate concern” that blessing ceremonies for same-sex couples could “create the impression” that such couples are able to enter into sacramental marriages, like heterosexual couples, who are able to give birth to children.

“This ‘yes’ to the family must not be said as a ‘no’ to all other forms,” he said. “The Church has become used to the fact — it was a long and painful process — that it is not the only voice that has something to say about relationships.”

Referring ot the Church, the cardinal said: “She must teach, but before everything else she is a mother.

“Many homosexual people are particularly sensitive to this question: ‘Is the Church a mother for us?’…They also want to see the Church as a mother and that is why this declaration has struck many in a particularly painful way, because they have the feeling of being rejected by the Church,” he said.