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Pope’s ‘blessing’ to lesbian no change in policy, Vatican says

Pope Francis waves as he arrives to lead his Wednesday general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on June 17, 2015. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Max Rossi*Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-POPE-ENCYCLICAL, originally transmitted on June 17, 2015 or RNS-POPE-JOBS, originally transmitted on August 19, 2015.
Pope Francis waves as he arrives to lead his Wednesday general audience in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican on June 17, 2015. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Max Rossi *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-POPE-ENCYCLICAL, originally transmitted on June 17, 2015 or RNS-POPE-JOBS, originally transmitted on August 19, 2015.

Pope Francis waves as he arrives to lead his Wednesday general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on June 17, 2015. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Max Rossi

(RNS) A lesbian author whose children’s books on gay families have been banned in Italy said she received a letter from Pope Francis that included a “blessing” of her work and relationship, but the Vatican says it’s being misinterpreted.

The courtesy letter to children’s author Francesca Pardi, with its generic blessing from the pope, does not signify a change in Catholic teaching, said a Vatican spokesman who played down the pastoral gesture.

“The blessing of the pope at the end of the letter was directed to the person, not at any possible teachings that are not in line with the doctrine of the church …  which hasn’t changed a bit as the Holy Father has repeated even recently,” said the Rev. Ciro Benedettini, a Vatican spokesman, in a statement.


READ:  Children need heterosexual parents, says pope after gay pride march


The church is opposed to same-sex relationships and considers marriage to be between a man and a woman. But Francis’ pastoral approach has often been misinterpreted in the mainstream press and many have speculated about whether it might signal a change in the church’s stance.

Pardi, who runs publishing house Lo Stampatello, said on social media on Friday (Aug. 28) that she had received a reply from the Vatican that included a papal blessing. The letter was written by a Vatican official on behalf of the pope. It wished Pardi “more fruitful activity in the service of young generations and the spread of genuine human and Christian values.”


READ: Pope to meet with married gay activist in Paraguay


Pardi’s books draw on social issues, including a series dedicated to exploring alternative family models, such as gay couples, adoption and single parents. The inclusion of same-sex families in some titles prompted the mayor of Venice, Luigi Brugnaro, to take a number of Pardi’s books out of schools. Those banned include “Piccolo Uovo” (“Little Egg”), in which an egg meets animals in different circumstances, including gay couples.

She said she was moved to send a letter and books to the pope after an event in Rome. The Family Day rally brought hundreds of thousands of people to the streets of the capital in June to protest same-sex families. Protesters said people in Italy are promoting gay relationships through what they termed “gender theory.” Pardi is in a same-sex marriage; she and her partner Maria Silvia Fiengo, married abroad, and the couple have four children.


READ: Gay and transgender inmates invited to lunch with Pope Francis


Gay marriage and Catholic families will be at the top of the agenda when Francis visits the U.S. next month, during which he will visit the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia. The trip also comes just before the Vatican hosts a synod in October, when church leaders will discuss doctrine on family issues.

Although some see Pope Francis as a “revolutionary” who will change church doctrines, his many pastoral gestures tend to be misinterpreted by those who take them out of a spiritual context, said the Rev. Thomas Rosica, English language assistant to the Holy See Press Office.

“The only revolution is a revolution of tenderness,” said Rosica on Friday (Aug. 28), at a national meeting in Philadelphia for religion reporters preparing to cover the pope’s trip.

LM/AMB END RNS

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24 Comments

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  • Marriage is between a man and a woman where the “two become one flesh.”
    All other relationships are contrary to the will of the Blessed Holy One and societies that promote these unnatural liaisons will be punished as was Ancient Rome.

  • You are correct, really correct, but your Pope continues to find new ways to downplay that very message. He never denies it openly, oh no no no. He always supports the Church’s teachings, the Vatican is ever-prepared to claim.

    But Pope Francis continues to say certain things at certain times (and continues to remain totally silent at other times) that when taken all together, communicate and constitute SUPPORT FOR LEGALIZED GAY MARRIAGE.

  • Francis thinks the message of the Pope he gives at this time in history is what is needed. This includes hesitancy to be confrontational with those who do not understand the Church and its teachings and who live in a world that does not wish to be open to them. But look at what he wrote as a Cardinal if you want to know what he really thinks.

  • When Jesus forgave someone who sinned because that person sincerely repented of their action, he admonished that person to sin no more.

    The Pope in this case has not admonished the lesbian author to change her course of conduct which goes against Bible principles and commands. Instead, he has provided her with a blessing for the person she is and her work on gay families.

  • A papal blessing on any individual is a blessing on the person, a child of God, one free of the adjectives that the person uses today to identify them self.
    Francis did not bless her sexual sin, nor give an Imprimatur to her writings…..he blessed her alone. For him to deny her a blessing would be denying her her value to God as a creature he loves. Her sins will be judged by God.

  • “. . . and societies that promote these unnatural liaisons will be punished as was Ancient Rome.”

    Ah, yes, this is the classic clever tactic used to justify religious freedom for yourselves while trying mightily to deny it to everyone else. Essentially, you are saying, “We must have dominion over our society because, otherwise, our deity will punish us.”

    I don’t accept dominion from you or your deity. And given the fact that the Post-Christian movement is growing, I don’t think I’ll need to worry about it anytime soon.

  • Indeed. In fact, we are not sure of what type of “blessing” he conferred upon her. It could have been a minor exorcism. And, that might have been done with the intention of opening her up to further impulses of the Holy Spirit.

  • Richard,
    Your so-called “post-Christian movement” is nothing new. It is merely another term that describes those who hate God, push gay marriage and espouse all forms of degenerate evil acts. We have heard it all before, it has always been with us, it never ends, same old lies, over and over again.

  • bqrq, the post-Christian movement actually is something new in the sense that the number of Christians is decreasing while the number of non-believers is increasing.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2015/05/12/christianity-faces-sharp-decline-as-americans-are-becoming-even-less-affiliated-with-religion/

    Christianity is on the decline in America, not just among younger generations or in certain regions of the country but across race, gender, education and geographic barriers. The percentage of adults who describe themselves as Christians dropped by nearly eight percentage points in just seven years to about 71 percent, according to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center. . . .

    And by the way, I know that you folks like to promote the falsehood that non-believers “hate” God. But, how can people hate something they believe is nonexistent?

  • God will soon put an end to all of mankind’s inherited imperfection and sin through the application of the ransom sacrifice of his son, Christ Jesus, and his son, Jesus’ upcoming millennial rule (Isaiah 11:1-9) as its King.

    God will bless ALL meek mankind with eternal life (John 3:16; 17:3) on a paradise earth at the end of that rule (after Satan is let loose one last time for a final test and then destroyed). There will be no more immorality, sickness, disease, old age, death, hate, wars, or prejudice. All of those things will become a thing of the past, never to be brought back to mind (Psalm 37:10,11; Revelation 21:3,4). ❤️?

  • Richard Rush said;
    “……the post-Christian movement actually is something new in the sense that the number of Christians is decreasing while the number of non-believers is increasing…..”

    Dear Richard,
    You can be sure of this – the post-Richard Rush world is rapidly approaching, but the Word of God endures forever. After your body is dead, your soul will know the Truth.

  • Fran if you read Revelation Chapters 21 & 22, it should become clear that it is written in figurative language. It could be alluding to heaven alone, or a blend of both the Church on earth finally becoming the pure vessel it was promised to be, and the final glory of heaven for all those who have stood firm through the trials, for we see it is both the final home of both the Jews and the Christians (21:12-14), as the Body of Christ is both the Church on earth, and the Church in heaven; we see the same language in Heb 12:23. Revelation was never meant to be read literally. To do so, limits its eternal depth, and breadth.

  • Sister,

    “Punished as was Ancient Rome”

    What?
    The Roman Empire imploded after it adopted Christianity. It was doing fine before that!

    Besides Jesus was bisexual.
    Jesus stumbled into a sexual situation
    between Peter and Jesus’ gay lover:

    “Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had been naked) and jumped into the water” (John 21:7)

    “And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked loins; and the young men laid hold on him:
 And he left the linen cloth baring himself, and fled from them naked.” (Mark 14:51-52)

    If gay sex is okay with Jesus why not modern people?

  • @Bqrq,

    “but the Word of God endures forever…”

    Oh, really? Which version? :

    Pentacostal?
    Episcopalian?
    Anglican?
    Adventist?
    Catholic?
    Ganeshan?
    Orthodox?
    Baptist?
    Charismatic?
    Mormon?
    Lutheran?
    Christian Unitarians?
    Maronites?
    Melkites?
    Shakers?
    Jehovah Witnesses?
    Presbyterians?
    Menonites?
    Gnostic Christians?
    Christian Dulcinians?
    Jews for Jesus?
    Jesus for Jews?
    Continental reform Christians?
    Latvian Evangelical?
    Hutterite Christians?

    They all claim different facts !

    Jesus was a real man.
    Jesus was not a real man, only just a spirit.
    Jesus was resurrected.
    Jesus was NOT resurrected.
    Jesus had help rolling the stone.
    Jesus never was never in a tomb.
    Jesus was born of a virgin
    Jesus was not born of a virgin
    Jesus had no mother
    Jesus had a mother
    Jesus evolved from apes like other humans (Catholic)
    Jesus did not evolve from apes (Westboro Baptists)
    Jesus had no penis.
    Jesus had a penis
    Jesus lusted
    Jesus did not lust….

  • Actually, Pope Francis says he is waging a “war of God” against same-sex marriage, which he describes as “an attempt to destroy God’s plan” masterminded by “the Father of Lies.”

  • that’s easily handled: if you don’t believe in same sex marriage then don’t marry someone the same sex.

  • Greg1,
    Many things in the book of Revelation are “figurative” or “symbolic”, just as some are “real” or “literal.”

    The promise of God concerning “man” at Revelation 21:3,4 should be taken as “literal” as much as God’s oral purpose for man after creation:

    “And God blessed them and said unto them, Be fruitful, and mutiply, and replenish the EARTH and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and the foul of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” (Genesis 1:28).

    The psalmist confirmed this purpose: “But the meek shall inherit the EARTH and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.” (Psalm 37:10,11). Jesus also said: “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the EARTH.” (Matt. 5:5).

    Only spirit persons reside in the heavens: God (John 4:24); Jesus and his co-rulers of 144,000 (1 Corinth. 15:45-52; Luke 24:39); and angels (Hebrews 1:13,14).

    God’s unchanged purpose for man: To live forever on EARTH…

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