FutureChurch decries the latest Responsum released by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and endorsed by Pope Francis declaring that the Church “does not have, and cannot have, the power to bless unions of persons of the same sex…”

"After the hopeful responses of Pope Francis regarding pastoral outreach to LGBTQ persons in the past and his support of civil unions, we are deeply dismayed by his endorsement of this rigid and un-pastoral declaration," said Deborah Rose-Milavec, Co-Director of FutureChurch. "Because of the harm this Responsum has already incurred and the danger it poses to the lives of LGBTQ people, it is imperative that our bishops and priests take a fearless stand for LGBTQ people."

FutureChurch calls on prelates like Cardinal Blaise Cupich, Cardinal Joseph Tobin, Cardinal Wilton Gregory, Bishop John Stowe, Bishop Robert McElroy and others who have promoted the pastoral initiatives of our pope to speak out forcefully on the destructive aspects of this Vatican action.

Further, because of their courageous solidarity, FutureChurch enthusiastically endorses today’s statement by the Austrian Priests’ Initiative as they declare their decision to continue blessing same-sex loving couples. They write:

We, the members of the Austrian Priests' Initiative are deeply appalled by the new Roman decree that wants to prohibit the blessing of same-sex loving couples. This is a relapse into times that we had hoped to be overcome with Pope Francis. In solidarity with so many, we will not reject any loving couple in the future who wants to celebrate God's blessing, which they experience every day, in a church-service. Reality has long since shown that same-sex couples connected in love can very well celebrate God's blessing in church. A state-of-the-art theology establishes this responsible practice. We vehemently protest against the assumption that same-sex loving couples are not part of God’s divine plan. Here an attempt is made to undermine the reality of creation with dogmatizing presumptions. We deeply regret that this decree, which seeks to revive the spirit of bygone times, widens the gap between Roman bureaucracy and the local Church. This decree offends many Christians and obscures and discredits the liberating message of Jesus.

“The Spirit will continue to move Catholics – lay and ordained – around the globe to support and bless their LGBTQ friends and family members as they enter into marriage,”said Russ Petrus, Co-Director for FutureChurch. “No directive from the Vatican will stopHer holy movement toward equality and wholeness for all members of the Body of Christ.”

On a personal note, Petrus added, “I share the pain of my LGBTQ siblings today. But I encourage us to find comfort in knowing that God’s blessing pours out on us regardless of whether the institution recognizes it or not. My own marriage is blessed and is a blessing and no statement can take that away from me.”