Pope Francis
The Catholic Church approved blessings for same-sex couples AFP

Pope Francis formally approved on Monday the blessings of same-sex couples by the Catholic Church, saying that people seeking it shouldn't be subjected to "an exhaustive moral analysis" to get it.

The document makes it clear that the ritual shall not be the same as the sacrament of marriage (saying that there shouldn't be rituals or clothing that resemble such a ceremony) but that blessings should not be denied. "Ultimately, a blessing offers people a means to increase their trust in God," the document said, according to a report by AP.

"The request for a blessing, thus, expresses and nurtures openness to the transcendence, mercy, and closeness to God in a thousand concrete circumstances of life, which is no small thing in the world in which we live," it adds.

While the Church still believes that people in "irregular unions," regardless of whether they are gay or straight, live in a state of sin, the new directive highlights that they shouldn't be denied God's love or mercy.

"Thus, when people ask for a blessing, an exhaustive moral analysis should not be placed as a precondition for conferring it," reads another passage of the document.

The decision is the latest example of a shift within the Church under Pope Francis, who has been more open to welcoming LGBTQ individuals. Earlier this year, he said laws that outlaw homosexuality "unjust" and stating that God loves all of his children exactly as they are.

In addition to asking for the elimination of laws that forbid homosexuality, Pope Francis has stated that homosexuality is a sin and that it "is not a crime."

On his journey back from his first trip as pope in 2013, Pope Francis told reporters, "We shouldn't marginalize people" because they are gay.

As he traveled back to the Vatican from Brazil, he remarked, "They must be integrated into society. "If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?"

In 2018, Juan Carlos Cruz, a Chilean survivor of clergy sexual abuse who visited the Vatican, said that he and Pope Francis spoke about more than just the scandal that has rocked the country's church. Also brought up was the fact that Cruz is homosexual. He claims that the Pope said to him, "It doesn't matter. God made you like this. God loves you like this."

Francis also urged parents of gay children to provide support rather than "not hide behind an attitude of condemnation" in January of 2021.

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