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Monsignor Charles PopeFranciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word / YouTube screenshot

WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) – Msgr. Charles Pope, pastor of Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian Church in Washington, D.C., said he will not offer blessings of same-sex couples because it would “lead to confusion and scandal among the faithful regarding the Church’s teaching on marriage and sexuality.”

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In an email sent to parishioners on Dec. 21 and shared with LifeSiteNews, Msgr. Pope wrote:

“It is widely reported that the document permits a priest to bless same-sex couples. Some even see it as an approval of same-sex marriage. It is not.”

“The declaration in no way authorizes same-sex marriage. In fact, it explicitly re-affirms the Church’s teaching that marriage is only between a man and a woman, and that sexual relations are only moral within marriage (declaration paragraph #s 4-6).”

“The document does say that there may be times when people who are living in objectively sinful ways, such as cohabitation or homosexual relationships, could receive a kind of informal blessing in no way resembling the Rite of Marriage. However, the document also states that these informal blessings should only be given if there is no risk of causing confusion about the Church’s doctrine on sexual morality, including the nature of marriage (#s 4,5,30, 39).”

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“On the whole then, the Vatican document does not change the Church’s doctrine on sexual morality or the sacrament of matrimony. It sets tight limits on any informal blessings so that they do not contradict the truth about the true nature of what God teaches about marriage and human sexuality.”

“As your Pastor, I want to say that this declaration requires no changes at our parish and that there will not be the conferring of informal blessings here for relationships of couples in irregular unions. I say this because, in the discernment I am required to make as pastor, (see # 25, 37, 41), I think the blessings of such unions would, in fact, lead to confusion and scandal among the faithful regarding the Church’s teaching on marriage and sexuality.” (see also # 30)

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“Having thus made this discernment and decision required of me, I ask your understanding and prayers, realizing that I have as my duty the care of all souls here and the duty to protect the faithful from confusion or error that would likely come from conferring such blessings. I must therefore decline to offer them.”

Msgr. Pope is widely known for his defense of the Traditional Latin Mass and his outspokenness on the sanctity of life and marriage. This past August, he decried the apparent departure from Catholic teaching being pushed by Rome’s Synod on Synodality, saying, “From all I hear about this ‘synodal church’ I don’t want it. I want the Catholic Church. I want the Church of the martyrs, of the Saints. I want the Catholic Church, who is a bride, not a widow; the Bride of Christ, not a disciple of the world, who has a joyful orthodoxy that is opposed to the world in order to convert it.”


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FULL LIST: Where do bishops stand on blessings for homosexual couples?