The Catholic church’s view on same-sex couples goes against Christian teachings, the Russian priests argue The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, during a service in Moscow on February 1, 2024. © Ilya Pitalev / Sputnik

The Vatican’s recent decision to permit the blessings of same-sex couples is a gross deviation from the Christian faith, the Russian Orthodox Church has said.

According to the statement published on the church’s website, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow had asked the Synodal Biblical and Theological Commission to “analyze” the document adopted by the Vatican in December 2023.

The commission met on Tuesday and “unanimously agreed that this novelty represents a drastic departure from Christian moral teachings,” the statement read.

Kirill said in the past that the Russian Orthodox Church will “never” endorse same-sex marriages and has condemned “the dangerous and destructive LGBT ideology.” The church’s views are consistent with the position of the Russian authorities, which in December 2022 vastly expanded the existing ban on “LGBT propaganda.”

The Vatican’s declaration titled ‘Fiducia Supplicans’ was authored by two top officials at the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith – Cardinal Victor Manuel Fernandez and Father Armando Matteo. The document examines “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.”

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According to the declaration, Catholic priests can bless same-sex couples. However, “this blessing should never be imparted in concurrence with the ceremonies of a civil union… nor can it be performed with any clothing, gestures, or words that are proper to a wedding.”

The authors argued that the text was based on “the pastoral vision” of Pope Francis, who has been described as more friendly toward same-sex couples and the members of the LGBTQ community than his predecessors.

Cardinal Fernandez was appointed to lead the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith in July 2023. According to the Associated Press, he wrote a book in the late 1990s titled ‘The Mystical Passion: Spirituality and Sensuality’, which contains graphic descriptions of human sexual activity.