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Catholics for Choice Responds to Catholic Church Allowing Blessings for Same-Sex Couples

December 18, 2023

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, December 18, 2023
Contact: Ashley Wilson, Strategic Communications Advisor
Phone: 202-294-4081

Catholics for Choice Responds to Catholic Church Allowing Blessings for Same-Sex Couples

WASHINGTON — Catholics for Choice, which uplifts and amplifies the voices of the majority of Catholics who believe in reproductive freedom, issued the following statement from President Jamie L. Manson, M.Div. today in response to the news from the Vatican today about the Catholic Church allowing blessings for same-sex couples:

Today’s announcement from Pope Francis that Catholic priests are now allowed to bless same-sex couples is stunning and historic. While some priests have been secretly blessing same-sex unions for years, to now be able to do it publicly — with backing from the pope’s teaching — will be transformative for advancing LGBTQIA+ visibility and inclusion. As a lesbian Catholic activist who has been working for LGBTQIA+ equality in the church for more than two decades calling for definitive doctrinal change — I never thought I’d see this day.

“Notably, the new teaching takes a more pastoral approach, and says, ‘exhaustive moral analysis should not be placed as a precondition for conferring [the blessing].’ Additionally, there is no litmus test that couples asking for a blessing must be celibate. Instead, this document completely omits any mention of celibacy being the preferred standard for couples in so-called ‘irregular situations.’ This opens up a real opportunity for discussion of Catholic teaching on sex and sexuality, because ‘[t]hose seeking a blessing should not be required to have prior moral perfection.’

There is still a long way to go before the church fully affirms the inherent, God-given dignity and equality of LGBTQIA+ Catholics, our marriages, and our families. Given the homophobic and transphobic climate created by many bishops in the United States, the average same-sex couple likely still won’t feel comfortable presenting themselves to their local bishop or priest to ask for a blessing. Today’s declaration reveals that this is not a Pope Francis problem, but a middle-management problem — one caused by decades of hardened institutional stigma and outspoken anti-LGBTQIA+ advocacy from a hierarchy increasingly mired in culture wars, in defiance of a pope who is moving the church in an opposite, more inclusive direction.

“This decision by the pope came as the result of tireless activism by LGBTQIA+ activists and from church leaders’ deep listening to our stories. It shows us, once again, that real change comes from the courageous witness of those of us living on the margins of our church. Today’s news inspires me to continue Catholics for Choice’s journey, started at this year’s synod, to have the pope and synod delegates listen to the voices of the millions of Catholics who have chosen abortion — because they too deserve to be heard without ‘exhaustive moral analysis.’ My hope and prayer for Pope Francis on this historic day is that he can also open his heart to the millions of Catholics who have received abortion care.”


Catholics for Choice shapes and advances sexual and reproductive ethics that are based on justice, reflect a commitment to a person’s well-being and respect, and affirm the capacity of all people to make moral decisions about their lives.