The Vatican rebukes a Kentucky Catholic church for a priest, adorned in a rainbow scarf, offering a ‘private blessing’ to a lesbian couple

Vatican Responds to Same-Sex Blessing at Historic Saint Paul Catholic Church

The Historic Saint Paul Catholic Church in Lexington, Kentucky, recently made headlines when the Very Reverend Richard Watson blessed a lesbian couple on December 31, 2023, citing a new 2023 rule that he believed allowed such blessings.

This action prompted a strong response from the Vatican, which rejected the interpretation of the doctrine behind the blessing.

Controversial Blessing and Vatican’s Rejection

Wearing a rainbow-colored scarf, Reverend Watson blessed the same-sex couple, sharing the event on the church’s Facebook page with a caption claiming history was made.

However, the Vatican quickly issued a press release refuting this interpretation, stating that the 2023 doctrine, specifically ‘Fiducia supplicans,’ does not alter the stance on marriage. The Vatican clarified that while blessings for same-sex individuals are permitted, the approval does not extend to their marital unions.

Backlash and Criticism

The public blessing received backlash from both parishioners and online observers, with the church’s Facebook post attracting a barrage of negative reactions.

Michael J Matt, editor of The Remnant, criticized the ceremony, arguing that it went beyond the intended scope of the new Vatican document, and accused the church of providing public approval for a “married” lesbian couple.

Pope Francis’ Stance and Vatican’s New Document

Pope Francis had formally approved the blessing of same-sex couples in December, emphasizing a change in Vatican policy.

The Vatican issued a new document explaining this change, highlighting that blessings should not be denied outright, although it maintained that marriage remains a sacrament between a man and a woman.

The document emphasized a nuanced approach, allowing blessings under certain circumstances while avoiding confusion with the sacrament of marriage.

Challenges to Traditional Views and Different Reactions

The new document stirred controversy within the Catholic community, with traditionalists expressing outrage.

Critics like Luigi Casalini viewed the document as potentially heretical, suggesting a perceived erosion of the Church’s foundations.

On the other hand, supporters, including Rev. James Martin, praised the document as a significant step forward, acknowledging the desire of many same-sex Catholic couples for God’s presence in their relationships.

Divergent Perspectives on Same-Sex Blessings

The incident at Historic Saint Paul Catholic Church and the subsequent Vatican response underscore the ongoing tension within the Catholic Church regarding LGBTQ+ issues.

While Pope Francis signaled a more inclusive approach, the diverse reactions within the Church reflect the challenges of reconciling traditional doctrine with evolving societal norms.

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