Pope Francis clarifies that he’ll bless LGBTQ+ people but not their unions

Pope Francis has described being gay as a “human fact”, clarifying that he supports blessings for individual LGBTQ+ people, but not their unions.

In a Vatican interview with CBS Evening News anchor Norah O’Donnell, which aired on Sunday (19 May), Pope Francis said he would bless LGBTQ+ people but does not support same-sex marriage, and would not “bless the union”.

Giving his reason, he added: “That cannot be done because that is not the sacrament. I cannot. The Lord made it that way. But to bless each person, yes. The blessing is for everyone.

“To bless a homosexual-type union, however, goes against the given right, against the law of the Church. But to bless each person, why not? Some people were scandalised by this. But why?”

Pope Francis presides over the meeting ‘Arena of Peace’ at the Verona's Arena on May 18, 2024 in Verona, Italy
Pope Francis clarifies that he supports blessings for LGBTQ+ people despite being against same-sex marriage (Vatican Media via Vatican Pool/Getty)

The question arose after O’Donnell referred to a ruling approved by the pope in December, which outlines that same-sex couples can be blessed by Roman Catholic priests as long as the blessings are not part of regular church rituals and do not resemble a marriage celebration.

Francis has insisted that same-sex marriage is still not allowed within the Catholic Church, telling Italian magazine Credere: “I do not bless a homosexual marriage. I bless two people who care for each other, and I also ask them to pray for me.

“The blessing is not to be denied to anyone. Everyone, everyone. Mind you, I am talking about those who are capable of receiving baptism.

Pope Francis speaking at an event.
Pope Francis. (Getty)

Last November, the pontiff said trans people can be baptised and act as godparents or witnesses to a marriage under the same conditions as any other adult.

In response, the president and chief executive of GLAAD, Sarah Kate Ellis, said: “Pope Francis’ latest LGBTQ+ affirmation sends an unequivocal message to political and cultural leaders around the world to end their persecution and exclusion of transgender people.

“[He] is continuing to break down barriers that have kept LGBTQ+ Catholics away from full participation as members of the Roman Catholic Church.”

Please login or register to comment on this story.