Updated: June 03, 2021 08:40 AM GMT
Defying a recent Vatican ban against blessing same-sex unions, US Catholic leaders, including a bishop, launched Pride Month events with an online blessing service.
"God is inviting you to draw near and that God desires a deep and intimate relationship with all of you," Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, Kentucky, said during a virtual LGBTQ Catholic event on June 1.
At the online meeting, the Conventual Franciscan prelate reminded the LGBTQ community that that “God desires a deep and intimate relationship with each of you.”
The online Catholic Pride Blessing event was organized by DignityUSA. Catholic advocacy groups and national LGBTQ rights organizations also took part.
"May God, the source of life and love, fill you with the joy of knowing your great dignity and worth as God's child," Bishop Stowe added.
Bishop Stowe, 56, is among the most vocal Catholic prelates backing the LGBTQ community in the US.
In many ways, we have the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to thank for sparking this event
According to him, the LGBT community was “created in love and filled with blessings from the first moment of your existence.”
"In many ways, we have the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to thank for sparking this event," Meli Barber, DignityUSA vice-president, said at the start of the virtual event.
Barber was referring to the March 15 document from the Vatican congregation, which said the Church does not have the power to give a blessing to unions of persons of the same sex.
Miguel Diaz, a former US envoy to the Vatican under the Obama administration; Mary McAleese, former Irish president and a canon lawyer; and Father Bernárd J. Lynch, a self-declared married gay priest, among others, addressed the gathering.
At the conclusion of the virtual service, Marianne Duddy Burke, DignityUSA's executive director, offered a blessing of encouragement. "Go with pride, which is not sin for you but salvation."
On its website, Dignity USA solicited support for the Catholic Pride Blessing and stated that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) March statement had caused embarrassment and harm many people.
A global backlash has started against the Vatican's tersely worded decree, issued on March 15, that God "cannot bless sin."
In its response, which contained an explanatory note and commentary, the CDF had asked pastors to desist from blessing same-sex unions.
What is being blessed should be “objectively and positively ordered to receive and express grace, according to the designs of God inscribed in creation” and same-sex unions are outside of it, the CDF explained.
All people of goodwill should help, support and defend LGBT youth
In Germany, more than 100 Catholic churches have held blessing ceremony for same-sex couples.
A few German bishops came out in the open questioning the ban by the CDF, which was approved by Pope Francis.
In January, nine US bishops including a cardinal issued a joint statement in which they categorically affirmed that "all people of goodwill should help, support and defend LGBT youth."
They were later joined by another six bishops and many religious orders, schools and organizations.
As part of Pride Month celebration on June 1, the US mission to the Holy See flew the rainbow flag outside the embassy in Rome.
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