Pope Francis rejects Premarital or extra-marital sex
...Rejects criticism of blessings for same-sex couples
Pope Francis has reiterated that sexual relationships are only considered permitted within marriage between a man and a woman.
The Catholic Pope also pushed back against criticism from Catholic conservatives over his newly issued declaration on the blessing of same-sex couples, in a document issued by the Doctrine of the Faith in the Vatican on Thursday.
The response emphasized that Francis only opened the door to the blessing of same-sex couples so long as they are not part of regular church rituals and not given in relation to civil unions or weddings.
The landmark declaration on same-sex couples issued by Francis last month also reiterated that sexual relationships are only considered permitted within marriage between a man and a woman.
The Vatican office also pointed out on Thursday that Francis is giving local churches wide leeway in how the new guidelines on the blessings are applied.
In mid-December, the pope issued a declaration allowing for the blessing of “couples in irregular situations and same-sex couples without officially validating their status or changing in any way the church’s perennial teaching on marriage.”
The more permissive stance was praised by many in the western world. But there was criticism in some countries, particularly in Africa, and one German conservative cardinal, Gerhard Ludwig Müller, even desribed the guidelines as “blasphemy.”
The Office for the Doctrine of the Faith rejected this on Thursday.