African Catholic Bishops reject Pope Francis’ same-sex blessings

African Catholic Bishops reject Pope Francis' same-sex blessings
Pope Francis meets Roman Catholic bishops in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Feb. 3, 2023

Kampala, Uganda | By Michael Wandati | The African and Madagascan Roman Catholic Bishops, represented by Congolese Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo on behalf of SECAM, released a statement on Thursday rejecting Pope Francis’ endorsement of priests offering blessings to same-sex couples.

The statement, citing the opposition to such unions as contrary to God’s will and inconsistent with African cultural values, follows Francis’ December 18 approval allowing non-liturgical blessings for same-sex couples without equating them to weddings.

While the Vatican maintained traditional marriage teachings, the African Catholic Bishops criticized the declaration, stating it contradicted the cultural ethos of African communities.

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Notably, the Church’s doctrine on Christian marriage and sexuality, as affirmed by the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) from Accra, Ghana, remains unchanged.

The rejection reflects a broader tension between Pope Francis’ progressive leadership and conservative sentiments within the Catholic community, highlighting divisions on LGBTQ issues.