For months, there have been increasing news reports of Catholic prelates speaking out in favor of ceremonies blessing same-sex union. Two of the most recent such statements come from the newly appointed Archbishop of Dublin (Ireland) and the Bishop of Mainz (Germany). Both hypocritically added that they support these ceremonies as long as they do not convey the impression of a wedding.
For his part, Pope Francis has spoken out for the legal recognition of same-sex unions but nothing about eventually giving those unions a religious blessing. Now a scandalous event in his native Argentina no longer allows the pontiff’s cautious silence to linger.
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The Argentine newspaper La Voz reports that on February 6, a male and a “transgendered” man (acting as a “woman”) got married in the church “during a religious ceremony with all the traditional trappings of Catholic worship.” The ceremony was held at the parish of Our Lady of Merced, located in downtown Ushuaia, the Tierra del Fuego provincial capital.
Several aggravating circumstances make this act particularly symbolic:
- The “contracting parties” are two prominent figures in the provincial government. One is the province’s Secretary of Education, and the other is the Undersecretary for Diversity.
- The provincial governor and several cabinet members participated in the ceremony.
- Also present was the former governor, under whose mandate in 2009, the first same-sex “marriage” in Latin America was celebrated.
- The religious act was officiated by the parish priest and not a secondary or unknown priest.
- Both the parish and the priest are run by the Salesians, the leading religious congregation in Tierra del Fuego. Thus, the church is a central and important building in the capital.
- The Gospel was read, and an Our Father and Hail Mary were recited during the ceremony as “the spouses exchanged their promise of fidelity.”
- According to the press, the “bride and groom” received Holy Communion.
- The “transgendered” man playing the “bride” stated to the Telam news agency: “This is a very significant moment for the LGBTIQ + community because this place has been denied to us, like so many other things. That is why we think of this as an act of reconciliation and return home to God’s house.”
The same “transgendered” man further stated that, “Of course, [the parish priest] consulted with the bishop’s office.” In a later statement, the bishop said that he “did not authorize the religious ceremony” and that the celebrant “was admonished appropriately.” However, he cryptically added, “While we accompany all people without exception in their legitimate desire to receive God’s blessing, we note that in this case, there was no sacrament of marriage as the Church believes and upholds.”
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Since the Pope is from Argentina, everyone knows that he closely follows everything happening in his native country. Both Catholic and public opinion could interpret his silence on this scandalous and sacrilegious ceremony as tacit approval of all that happened.
Let Pope Francis speak out.