At Crux: “Vatican rules out Church blessings for same-sex unions.”
A few quick comments.
The announcement is notably emphatic about treating homosexuals with respect and sensitivity. The most potentially offensive part of the announcement (“absolutely no grounds… in any way similar or even remotely analogous…”) is a quotation from an earlier document. And that quotation is overstated and polemical, which I think can be admitted even if one agrees with its position. Today’s statement shows real progress in how the official Church shows love for homosexuals – which of course doesn’t mean that all Catholic homosexuals will welcome today’s statement.
The distinction between ‘sacrament’ and ‘sacramental’ is quite traditional. And perhaps a bit too clear and distinct, given the vagaries of gradual evolution in the Church’s understanding. As of the 12th century no one knew how many sacraments there are since apparently no one had asked the question or needed the answer.
The English translation, following Vatican convention, is non-inclusive (“he blesses sinful man”). Simply at the level of PR, this usage makes an already unpalatable message even less palatable for the audience to be persuaded. Maybe someday this usage will be reexamined.
Finally, the logic in today’s statement seems airtight: if same-sex sexual unions are morally wrong, then they can’t be blessed. I’m trying to think of a tenable position in which something is morally wrong (or imperfect, or inadequate, or not yet at the fullness of what revelation demands) and yet can be blessed, and I’m coming up empty? Can anyone else help? Of course it’s a bit “IF” and that is exactly where convictions differ.
Here’s something to wonder about: Can the Catholic Church bless avowedly celibate same-sex unions? I would think so but I’m not entirely sure.