GLAAD and other groups representing members of the LGBTQ community responded swiftly to the Vatican's decree Monday that the Catholic Church won't bless same-sex unions because God “cannot bless sin.”
Ross Murray, who oversees religious issues for the LGBTQ rights group GLAAD, said "Having sin be explicitly included in this statement kind of brings us back to zero.”
Murray expressed dismay that “the ability for us to live out our lives fully and freely is still seen as an affront to the church or, worse yet, an affront to God, who created us and knows us and loves us.”
The Vatican’s orthodoxy office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, issued a formal response Monday to a question about whether Catholic clergy have the authority to bless gay unions. The answer was contained in a two-page explanation published in seven languages and approved by Pope Francis.
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God “does not and cannot bless sin: He blesses sinful man, so that he may recognize that he is part of his plan of love and allow himself to be changed by him,” it said.
The note distinguished between the Catholic Church’s welcoming and blessing of gay people, which it upheld, and their unions, which it didn't. It argued that such unions are not part of God's plan and that any such sacramental recognition could be confused with marriage.
Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive director of DignityUSA, said her organization’s membership includes same-sex couples who have been together for decades.
“The fact that our church at its highest levels cannot recognize the grace in that and cannot extend any sort of blessing to these couples is just tragic,” she said.
Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, which advocates for greater acceptance of gays in the church, predicted the Vatican position would be ignored, including by some Catholic clergy.
“Catholic people recognize the holiness of the love between committed same-sex couples and recognize this love as divinely inspired and divinely supported and thus meets the standard to be blessed,” he said in a statement.
Some celebrities also took to social media to express their disappointment with the Vatican.
"As a graduate of a catholic high school, I am deeply saddened by this archaic rhetoric and not at all surprised.The good news? I’m still happily married & I don’t need the Pope to acknowledge the love that exists in my family," wrote "Modern Family" star Jesse Tyler Ferguson.
"Love is love. Gay marriage is legal. The Pope isn’t your County Clerk. Register for the fancy sheets and wine glasses. Peace and blessings," wrote Chasten Glezman Buttigieg, husband of United States Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg.
"On a serious note, to everyone who goes out of their way to talk about how “cool” this pope is...NO. The Catholic Church has abused the LGBTQ community for MILLENIA. So, go to church if you need to I guess but THAT’s what you’re enabling. Bye!," wrote comedian, actor, and producer Billy Eichner.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.