By Ferdinand Patinio

(File photo)

MANILA – The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Wednesday said Pope Francis’ pronouncement of allowing Catholic priests to administer blessings to same-sex couples is self-explanatory.

“In fact, in paragraph 41, What has been said in this Declaration regarding the blessings of same-sex couples is sufficient to guide the prudent and fatherly discernment of ordained ministers in this regard. Thus, beyond the guidance provided above, no further responses should be expected about possible ways to regulate details or practicalities regarding blessings of this type,” CBCP president Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David said in an advisory.

He added that the declaration reaffirmed the Church’s teaching on marriage as a sacrament and indissoluble union entered into by one woman and one man.

“This declaration remains firm on the traditional doctrine of the Church about marriage, not allowing any type of liturgical rite or blessing similar to a liturgical rite that can create confusion.”

Meanwhile, Lingayen-Dagupan Bishop Socrates Villegas said same sex couples that seek blessing will only receive a “blessing of mercy”.

Villegas said the declaration opens up the possibility of blessing couples in irregular situations and same-sex couples “without officially validating their status or changing in any way the Church’s perennial teaching on marriage.”

“Therefore, when a Catholic priest prays a blessing of mercy on a couple in an irregular situation, who ‘desire to entrust themselves to the Lord and his mercy, to invoke his help, and to be guided to a greater understanding of his plan of love and of truth’, he is asking God to have pity on both of them and to give them the grace of conversion so that they can regularize their relationships,” Villegas said in his pastoral guidance.

On Monday, Pope Francis approved the document allowing Catholic priests to bless couples in irregular situations including those who are in cohabitating relationships, non-sacramental civil marriages, divorced and remarried unions, polygamous bonds, and same-sex unions. (PNA)