Same-sex unions only eligible to ‘simple blessings’ outside liturgical setting: Bishops » Capital News

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 20 — The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) has moved to clarify the controversial decision by the Vatican allowing priests to bless same-sex unions saying it only allows ‘simple blessings’ outside the liturgical setting.

The Kenyan bishops, responding to public concerns on the matter, said the move is meant to promote inclusion irrespective of the moral status of congregants. 

The bishops said the directive sanctioned by Pope Francis was part of efforts to expand the scope of pastoral blessings administered by the church. 

“This declaration does not in any way approve of “Same-sex Marriages” nor try to give a back-door recognition of such a union. It does not seek an alternative “union blessing” to substitute a Sacramental marriage,” said Most Rev Martin Kivuva, KCCB Chairperson, said.

“What this document seeks is to awaken the invitation of all people to God’s action and grace. The Church seeks to reach out to all individuals in order to stir them to the path of conversion and salvation.”

The Catholic Church came under heavy criticism for shifting from its earlier position after holding in 2021 that God “cannot bless sin”.

Archbishop Kivuva went on to explain that the decision “does not change in any way the understanding of Marriage as a Sacrament in the Church, an indissoluble union between a man and a woman, for life.”

Instead, the “Declaration remains firm on the traditional doctrine of the Church about marriage, not allowing any type of liturgical rite or blessing similar to a liturgical rite that can create confusion.”

Attitude of truth and faith

Consequently, Kivuva stated that the document recognizes that anyone, irrespective of their “moral life or faith condition” are welcome to receive blessings from the Church or a Church minister.

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“The Church does not withhold a blessing to an individual who seeks it with an attitude of truth and faith.  This blessing can be given even to non-Catholics, or non-Christians who honestly wish to receive God’s blessing,” he said.

He further explained that in the African context, the Catholic Church is very clear on what a family and marriage is.

Kivuva noted that the social situation of same-sex marriages does not find acceptance in the African cultural setting.

“We encourage especially the understanding of blessings as a gesture of humble submission to God and His ways, while recognizing our own sinfulness and need for conversion and of Salvation,” he said.

In blessing persons, he explained that the church “does not bless the immoral actions they may perform, but hope that the blessing and prayers offered over them as human persons will provoke them to conversion and to return to the ways of the Lord.”

He maintained that the role of the Church is “to gather the scattered, recover the lost and redirect all sinners back to the fount salvation and of eternal life”.

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