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St. Peter's Basilica, Rome.Michael Haynes/LifeSiteNews

VATICAN CITY (LifeSiteNews) — Clergy at St. Peter’s Basilica will bless same-sex “couples.”

According to a report in the Italian newspaper Il Messaggero today, the archpriest of Rome’s most famous church, Cardinal Mauro Gambetti, has stated that blessings of homosexual “couples” could happen there.

“To show the world the maternal face of the Church and along the lines of what [Pope Francis] has asked for,” Gambetti reportedly said.

However, he added that as yet nobody has asked the canons of the basilica for such a blessing.

“It doesn’t seem to me that reports have come in,” the cardinal stated and added that they, presumably the clergy of the basilica, “will move straight along the furrow that has been cut.”

Gambetti made the remarks during a press conference about the upcoming restoration of Bernini’s famous baldacchino.

The possibility of such an occurrence in St. Peter’s Basilica was made almost inevitable by Pope Francis’s new declaration on blessings, Fiducia Supplicans, which holds out the possibility of “non-liturgical” blessings of couples in irregular situations and same-sex couples. Nevertheless, the psychological and spiritual impact of the blessing of such couples in Christianity’s most famous shrine will be immense.

Fiducia Supplicans, prepared by the controversial new prefect for the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Victor Fernández, has received a mixed reception from bishops, clergy, and laity since its release on December 18, 2023. The document was hailed by such LGBT activist-priests as Father James Martin, whose subsequent blessing of a homosexual couple was photographed by the New York Times, as well as by bishops in Germany and Belgium. It also found favor in Beijing-influenced Hong Kong. However, its novelties have been resisted by bishops in Eastern and Central Europe, Latin America and, especially, Africa. Today the president of the episcopal conferences of Africa and Madagascar declared that Fiducia Supplicans’ blessing of same-sex couples will not be implemented in his continent.

The chief difficulty bishops, priests and laity have with Fiducia Supplicans is that it fails to make a sufficient distinction between the blessing of individuals and the blessing of their objectively sinful relationships. As the American Byzantine Catholic Bishop of Parma, Bishop Robert Pipta, observed recently, “in our society, the word ‘couple’ has come to be understood as two people who have entered a relationship that is either one of dating, engagement, or marriage. According to Church teaching, two people of the same sex cannot be in any of these types of relationships. There can never be a Church blessing for these.” 

Pipta is not alone in observing that there is a difference between blessing an individual and blessing a “couple.” The Archbishop Emeritus of Philadelphia, Charles Chaput, called Fiducia Supplicans “a doubleminded exercise in simultaneously affirming and undercutting Catholic teaching on the nature of blessings and their application to ‘irregular’ relationships.” He observed also that the document “was quickly interpreted as a significant change in Church practice” and cited Martin’s New York Times photo op.

READ: Abp. Viganò rebukes Vatican official’s remarks on blessing homosexual ‘couples’ in St. Peter’s

Pope Francis’ permission, through Fiducia Supplicans, of blessings for homosexual couples came as a shock for he had already ruled against such blessings as recently as 2021. However, it should be noted that the Prefect of the then-Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was Cardinal Luis Ladaria Ferrer, a widely respected theologian. Ladaria was replaced in 2023 by then-Archbishop Victor Fernández, an Argentinian thought to be the ghostwriter for parts of Pope Francis’ controversial Amoris Laetitia, a document which carried a suggestion, half-hidden in a footnote, that Catholics in irregular unions should be permitted to receive Holy Communion.

As came to light this week, Fernández was also the author of a pornographic theological work in which, among other things, he purported to describe the erotic fantasy of a teenager about Our Lord Jesus Christ. Previously, he was known for a work entitled The Art of Kissing, which he defended as a catechetical work for teens.

The Catholic Church has always taught, as did the law of Moses before it, that same-sex sexual acts are gravely sinful. This has been expressed more or less vociferously in the Church’s history. The 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church states the following:

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. It psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity (Cf. Genesis 19:1-29; Romans 1:24-27; 1 Corinthians 6:10; 1 Timothy 1:10), tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’ (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Persona humana, 8). They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. They do not choose their homosexual condition; for most of them it is a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them their inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

READ: Bishops will not offer blessings of homosexual ‘couples’ anywhere in Africa