Pope decries inflexible ideologies after Vatican's landmark ruling about same-sex blessing

'The Christian faith – let us remember – is not meant to confirm our sense of security, to let us settle into comfortable religious certitudes,' said Pope Francis on Thursday.
Last Updated : 21 December 2023, 11:13 IST
Last Updated : 21 December 2023, 11:13 IST

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Vatican City: Pope Francis on Thursday warned against inflexible ideological positions that can hinder the Church from seeing reality and moving forward, speaking days after a declaration allowing blessings of same-sex couples that conservatives have condemned.

Francis, who turned 87 on Sunday, made his comments in his traditional Christmas greetings to members of the Curia, the Vatican's central administration.

In the early years of his papacy, Francis made the Christmas greetings an occasion for blistering critiques of the bureaucracy, highlighting what at the time he called its "illnesses" and "diseases".

On Thursday, he mentioned the continuing debate between progressives and conservatives 60 years after the Second Vatican Council, which ushered the Church into the modern world.

"Let us remain vigilant against rigid ideological positions that often, under the guise of good intentions, separate us from reality and prevent us from moving forward," he said.

"We are called, instead, to set out and journey, like the Magi, following the light that always desires to lead us on, at times along unexplored paths and new roads," he said.

On Monday, he approved a ruling that priests can administer blessings to same-sex couples under certain condition and as long as they do not resemble marriage and are not part of Church rituals or liturgies.

While the pope's opening to blessings for same sex couples was welcomed by many, conservatives said it could shake the foundations of the faith and even lead to a Church schism.

Since fellow cardinals elected him 10 years ago, Francis has tried to make the Church more welcoming to people who feel excluded, such as members of the LGBT community, but without changing any part of Church teachings on moral issues.

He told Thursday's gathering that Christians should always be restless and open to change.

"The Christian faith – let us remember – is not meant to confirm our sense of security, to let us settle into comfortable religious certitudes, and to offer us quick answers to life’s complex problems," he said.

Francis said that when God calls, "he sends us on a journey, draws us out of our comfort zones, our complacency about what we have already done, and in this way he sets us free."

Published 21 December 2023, 11:13 IST

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