JPII Institute Dean Champions ‘Gay Blessings’

News: World News
by Jules Gomes  •  •  November 22, 2022   

Pro-contraception moral theologian challenges recent Vatican prohibition

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VATICAN CITY ( - The dean of the Rome-based John Paul II Pontifical Theological Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences is defending blessings for same-sex couples, despite a recent Vatican ban on the practice.

Blessings for same-sex couples conducted in Germany

Monsignor Philippe Bordeyne is daring the Church to be "realistic" and "pastorally creative" because "not all people who cannot marry have the capacity to live alone."

Blessing gay couples is a "tangible sign of God's closeness through the availability of a minister of the Church, lay person, deacon, priest or bishop," offered "in a discreet and supportive way on the personal level," Dr. Bordeyne explained in an interview on Friday. 

Thirst for Inclusion

"The fact that homosexuals ask the Church to bless them invites us to listen to them, to enter into the complexity of their story and their situation,"  Bordeyne told French media La Croix. "Behind the request for a blessing, there is often the same thirst for inclusion."

"Are they not entitled to the support of the Church on their journey of faith and conversion?" asks Bordeyne. "Jesus ate with sinners, conversed with a Samaritan woman, let himself be touched by the cry of a blind man. His freedom reawakened the desire for God in these people." 

"No one can be deprived of God's blessing. Like all true prayer, the blessing invites us to recognize our fragility. This is the opposite of a self-validation process," the 62-year-old French priest and moral theologian argued.

No one can be deprived of God's blessing. 

Bordeyne claimed that such a proposition is worked out in the parable of the publican and the pharisee, where the pharisee attempts to justify himself on the grounds that he is better than others while the publican begs for mercy, recognizing he is a sinner. 

Last year, the theologian published his views on same-sex blessings in the academic journal Transversalités, following the publication of a responsum from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith proscribing blessings for same-sex couples. 

Rome correspondent Dr. Jules Gomes discusses the Flemish bishops' liturgy for same-sex blessings

Vatican Crackdown

God "does not and cannot bless sin," the responsum unambiguously stated, emphasizing that "the Church does not have, and cannot have, the power to bless unions of persons of the same sex."

"There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God's plan for marriage and family," and so it cannot be licit to bestow a blessing imitating the blessing of matrimony, the document noted.

God does not and cannot bless sin.

However, drawing on Francis' controversial apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, Bordeyne argued in favor of blessing homosexual couples "when they solicit the Church's prayer to accompany their love, their union," provided the blessing was preferably private and offered individually to each partner to avoid confusing it with a marriage blessing.

Bordeyne conceded that "a blessing is never intended to validate a lifestyle" and underscored "the need for an appropriate accompaniment that gives meaning to the blessing."

French philosopher Thibaud Collin

Appointed as dean of the marriage and family institute in 2021, Bordeyne has supported Francis' controversial position on couples living in adulterous relationships in a book titled Divorcés remariés: ce qui change avec François (Divorce Remarried: What Changes With Francis). 

Bordeyne said that his goal was to "show that Pope Francis' pastoral approach is based on a moral tradition that is perfectly attested in the Catholic tradition, which is not uniform."

"John Paul II already had the same courage and theological insight when he provoked the Church to open up a question that had seemed forbidden until then, by affirming in Familiaris Consortio that pastors are obliged to make distinctions between the moral situations of divorcees or remarried persons," Bordeyne explained

In a 2015 essay, Bordeyne suggested that "it would be reasonable to leave the discernment on birth control methods to the wisdom of couples," leading to "a plurality of paths for responding to the general call to maintain the openness of sexuality to transcendence and to the gift of life." 

Thibaud Collin, professor of philosophy at the Collège Stanislas de Paris, earlier remarked that the John Paul II institute under Bordeyne, "in full hemorrhage of students, should for the sake of intellectual honesty change its name" to the "Amoris Laetitia Institute."

A blessing is never intended to validate a lifestyle.

Collin lamented that Pope Francis' appointment of Bordeyne's confirmed a "paradigm shift," with Pope Paul VI's pro-life encyclical Humanae Vitae no longer serving as the institute's "touchstone."

Pope Francis founded the institute in September 2017 through his motu proprio Summa Familiae Cura.

The new institute superseded and replaced the Pontifical Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family which was created by Pope John Paul II in October 1982 through his apostolic constitution Magnum Matrimonii Sacramentum.


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