A German Catholic Church cardinal remarked that Pope Benedict would never have approved Pope Francis’ recent decree allowing priests to bless people in same-sex relationships.
Cardinal Gerhard Müller made the comment to Reuters while attending an event marking the one-year anniversary of Pope Benedict’s death on Sunday.
“It would never have happened [under Benedict] because it was so ambiguous,” Mueller said in the coverage of Francis’ decision. Muller had served as the Church’s doctrinal head under Benedict, a position he lost with Francis’ ascension.
The Vatican released its new policy in mid-December, stating that “people who seek God’s love and mercy should not be subjected to an ‘exhaustive moral analysis’ in order to receive it.”
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The church noted that she remains steadfast in her position that marriage is a lifelong sacrament between a man and a woman, and the policy stated that blessings are not given concurrently with a civil union, using set rituals, or even with other acts or clothing associated with marriages .
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The document from the Vatican’s dogma office says that requests for such blessings should not be refused.
“Ultimately, a blessing offers people a means to increase their trust in God,” the document said. “The request for a blessing, then, expresses and nurtures the openness to transcendence, mercy and closeness to God in a thousand concrete circumstances of life, which is no small thing in the world we live in.”
“It is a seed of the Holy Spirit that must be nurtured, not hindered,” the Pope added.
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In the new document, the Vatican said the church they must avoid “doctrinal or disciplinary schemes, especially when they lead to a narcissistic and authoritarian elitism, where instead of evangelizing, one analyzes and classifies others and instead of opening the door to grace, exhausts one’s powers of inspection and verification.”
The document emphasized that people in “irregular” unions – gay or straight – are in a state of sin.
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However, he said that he should not deprive them of God’s love or mercy.
Fox News’ Pilar Arias and Reuters contributed to this report