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Vatican Saying Same-Sex Couples can be Blessed “a Key Step Forward” says Dignity Philadelphia

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Kate Carroll, Dignity Philadelphia Member


For immediate release

December 19, 2023


Philadelphia, PA —  Dignity Philadelphia acknowledges Pope Francis’ announcement approving priests to bless same sex couples as a significant and meaningful step forward for LGBTQ+ Catholics–in Philadelphia and around the world. 


Dignity Philadelphia recognizes the announcement as solidifying the Pope's earlier statement in October ahead of the Synod by affirming that priests can bless LGBTQ+ couples, with some restrictions. This proclamation by Pope Francis is an example of his leadership toward an inclusive Church more welcoming of LGBTQ+ people.


“There is something beautiful about reclaiming a space that you haven’t always felt welcome in. This is the experience that I’ve had coming back to my Catholic faith as a queer person,” said Kaeden Carroll, a member of Dignity Philadelphia since 2019. “Growing up I had always assumed I would get married in a church, so in some ways, my marriage to my partner didn’t feel ‘official’ until we had our marriage blessed by one of the presiders in our community. This declaration from Pope Francis on the blessing of same-sex unions feels like a recognition of the intersectionality of identities that we as queer Catholics experience every day.”


The new document Fiducia supplicans reexamines  the difference between blessings and sacraments. While stating that those who ask for blessings should not be denied,  the document doesn’t fundamentally change the Church’s overall stance on the sacrament of marriage as being reserved for heterosexual couples.  


The document also prohibits the blessing of same-sex couples seeking a civil union or in contexts that resemble the ceremonial customs of Catholic weddings in any way. The author of the document, Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, acknowledged that the broadening of the scope of who could receive blessings amounted to “a real development” and that the decision was “based on the pastoral vision of Pope Francis.”


“Pope Francis is a true Shepherd and he cares deeply about Catholics who have been pushed to the ‘fringes’ of the Church for centuries, including LGBTQ+ people. We have seen him guide  Catholic leadership in a more progressive and welcoming direction and are extremely pleased about this recent development. It is clear that the Pope has been listening to advocates such as Sr. Jeannine Gramick and Marianne Duddy-Burke, who both met with the Pope this fall,” said Michael Rocks, President of Dignity Philadelphia. 


Priests at Dignity Philadelphia have blessed same-sex relationships since the 1970s and the organization, as part of DignityUSA, has called for equal access to marriage for LGBTQ+ people for over 25 years. Earlier this year, Kate and Kaeden Carroll had their marriage blessed during Mass by Kathleen Gibbons Schuck, one of Dignity Philadelphia’s presiders and a married Roman Catholic Woman Priest.


Dignity Philadelphia believes that all people have an inherent dignity because God created us, Christ died for us, and the Holy Spirit sanctified us in Baptism, making us temples of the Spirit, and channels through which God's love becomes visible. This recent approval of the blessing of same-sex unions is an affirmation of LGBTQ+ Catholics’ dignity from the Pope himself. Dignity Philadelphia celebrates the approval of the blessing of same-sex unions, and thanks Pope Francis for his ongoing commitment to reach out to those on the margins as we continue to journey toward a fully welcoming and inclusive church.


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Dignity Philadelphia

Dignity Philadelphia, a chapter of DignityUSA, is a nonprofit organization serving Philadelphia’s LGBTQ+ Catholic community. Dignity Philadelphia has been deeply involved in LGBTQ+ activism throughout its 50 year history, with particular focus on encouraging LGBTQ+ Catholics to live wholly without sacrificing their spirituality or romantic partnerships. Today, Dignity Philadelphia is a diverse faith community that holds weekly services in the Gayborhood neighborhood of Philadelphia that include married women priests and lay people.




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