Vatican City, Mar 18, 2021 / 07:30 am
The Church’s pastoral life is open to all people, but blessings are reserved for couples who are married according to Catholic teaching, Cardinal Kevin Farrell said Thursday.
“It is essential and very important that we always open our arms to receive and to accompany all people in their different stages of life and in their different life situations,” he said at the end of an online press conference March 18.
The prefect of the Vatican’s Laity, Family, and Life dicastery answered a question in reference to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's March 15 document stating that same-sex unions cannot be given blessings in the Catholic Church.
In his response, Farrell underlined that the Church’s pastoral life is for everyone, but said the distinction between sacramental marriage and other kinds of unions or partnerships is important.
“When the Church speaks about marriage, it speaks about sacramental marriage. It doesn’t speak about civil unions,” he said. “Blessing is something that is a sacramental, that is related to the sacrament of marriage.”
“That does not mean that those who are only married in the Church receive the benefits of the pastoral care of the Church,” he added.
The Irish-American cardinal and former bishop of Dallas said sometimes there are situations in which people are not able to participate fully in the life of the Church, but that does not mean they cannot be accompanied by priests and lay people in the parishes.
He mentioned that there are ecclesial movements and groups in the Church which serve people with same-sex attraction, just like there are pastoral opportunities for people who are divorced and remarried, and whom the Church accompanies “with the hope that one day they will live in accord with the Church’s teaching.”