Could Pope Francis Be Right?

The Blessing of Same-Sex Relationships in the Catholic Church

Can it be an act of charity to bless the relationship of a committed same-sex couple? I plan to answer this question from within the teaching of the Catholic Church for three reasons: (1)  I’m Catholic and it is the tradition I understand best; (2)  recent events in Germany, questions put to Pope Francis by some of his cardinals, and the Vatican’s recent replies have brought these questions to the fore; (3)  the Catholic Church has striven to address such questions in a collective manner that is not possible for most Protestant denominations. And finally, all Christians have a stake in how the Catholic Church answers this question.

Orthodox Christians could be forgiven for thinking this question was closed. First, because perennial Christian teaching on marriage and sexuality has never been (and cannot be) changed, any more than the natural and divine law can be repealed. And second, because in 2021, the Vatican answered the question in the negative.


Kody W. Cooper is UC Foundation Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and 2023–2024 Visiting Fellow with the Civitas Institute at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the coauthor of The Classical and Christian Origins of American Politics (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2022). He lives with his wife and nine children in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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