Head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, may have given new hopes to same-sex couples after he suggested that priests could now give them their blessings to such unions.
The Pope who was responding to a group of cardinals who asked him for clarity on the issue, said any request for a blessing should be treated with “pastoral charity”.
According to a press release by the Vatican on Tuesday, the request was one of a number sent to the Pope ahead of a weeks-long global gathering to discuss the future of the church scheduled for Wednesday.
“We cannot be judges who only deny, reject and exclude,” Pope Francis was quoted as saying.
He added, however, that though the Church still considered same-sex relationships “objectively sinful” and would not recognise same-sex marriage, it will review if same-sex marriages could be blessed in the Church, thereby breaking a longstanding opposition to such unions.
Pope Francis added that “when a blessing is requested, it is expressing a plea to God for help, a supplication to live better”.
“Pastoral prudence must adequately discern whether there are forms of blessing, requested by one or more persons, that do not convey a mistaken concept of marriage.
Canon law should not and cannot cover everything,” he said.
He added that the Church should always approach its relationships with people with “kindness, patience, understanding, tenderness and encouragement”.
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