Vatican clarifies: Gay couple received standard form letter from Pope, not endorsement

Vatican City, Aug 8, 2017 / 11:59 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A congratulatory letter sent from Pope Francis to a same-sex couple regarding the baptism of their children was a standard form letter sent to all who write to the Pope, a Vatican source has confirmed.

The letter was not an endorsement of gay unions, the source told CNA, and the Pope may not have known that the letter was going to a gay couple, since it was addressed to a single individual.

Tony Reis, an LGBT activist, and his partner David Harrad published on Facebook in April that they sent a letter to the Pope, telling him about the baptism of their three adopted children in a church in Curitiba, Brazil.

The couple told AFP that they had received a congratulatory letter in return, signed by the Vatican Secretariat of State, Monsignor Paolo Borgia.

The letter, translated from Portuguese, said that the Holy Father “looks with appreciation” at the letter on the baptism of the children, and “expressed his feelings of esteem…and his wishes for the good spiritual fruits of his ministry as Pastor of the Universal Church.”

“Pope Francis wishes him well, invoking for his family the abundance of divine graces, so that they may live constantly and faithfully the condition of Christians, as good children of God and of the Church, and sends them a propitious Apostolic Blessing, asking them not to stop praying for him,” the letter concludes.

Along with the letter in Portuguese, the couple received a photograph of the Pontiff.

“(T)hat letter is the standard model of courtesy response that the Vatican sends to all the people who write to the Pope, and therefore was not a letter (that was) expressly thinking about them,” the Vatican source told CNA.

The same source said the letter is addressed to one person, “further evidence that the Secretary of State was unaware that it was a homosexual couple” who had written the first letter. The couple has not published the text of the letter they sent to Pope Francis, so it is unknown whether they presented themselves as a same-sex couple.

In 2015, the Vatican clarified a similar incident, when Fr. Ciro Benedittini, the deputy director of the Vatican Press Office, confirmed that a standard form letter sent to a lesbian couple who had written the Pope was not an endorsement of same-sex marriage.

On numerous occasions throughout his papacy, Pope Francis has reaffirmed Church teaching on marriage, voicing concern about what he sees as attacks on marriage and the family.

“(T)he family – as God wants it, composed of a man and a woman for the good of the spouses and also the generation and education of children – is deformed by powerful contrary projects supported by ideological colonization,” the Pope told a group in Rome in September 2015.

That same year, he voiced support for “efforts in defense of the family” in a greeting to pilgrims from Slovakia, on the day before a country-wide vote on whether to legalize same-sex unions.

Speaking during a trip to the Philippines, Pope Francis warned bluntly, “The family is also threatened by growing efforts on the part of some to redefine the very institution of marriage.”

And in an October 2014 audience, he warned that “the family is being bastardized,” cautioning against a common view in society that “you can call everything family, right?”

“What is being proposed is not marriage, it’s an association. But it’s not marriage! It’s necessary to say these things very clearly and we have to say it!” he stressed, lamenting that there are so many “new forms” of unions which are “totally destructive and limiting the greatness of the love of marriage.”




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  1. It may have been exactly as claimed here – a form or standard letter. But the homosexual community will claim otherwise and this papacy rarely uses qualifiers.

    At some point, the world will force Pope Francis’s hand in either proclaiming the doctrine of the Catholic Church in its plain words or Francis will cease being pope.

  2. I can accept the possibility that the pope didn’t know all the circumstances, and that he didn’t even know that the blessing was sent in his name, but

    1. Aren’t these blessings usually requested by someone in the diocese? Did some priest or other official think it would be cute to ask the pope to bless this family?

    2. Would the pope have declined had he known the circumstances?

    3. How on earth were they able to have the children baptized???

  3. Another “foggy day” in Vatican Bergoglio ambiguity. Then DON’T send letters unless you can check with a local parish priest. I’ve yet to see any reasonable level of clarity out of Francis and his minion who support all that Catholic Doctrine is NOT.
    Francis needs to step down and go to some place to live in a hermitage or other true monastic environment. He is not being a pope but an enabler of those he clings to for his own ego. Francis–answer the Dubia!

  4. Dear moderator(s)
    Truth is more important than the notion that we must must be “p c” in all things. No one should curse or anything of that nature. But if “truth” upsets anyone, that means it’s on target. Many of us who are traditional Catholics are quite fed up with all we see, hear from Bergoglio. There is much he does NOT address. I believe confusion IS his a part of his tool kit. Inflammatory? So was Jesus in the temple — He knew what He was doing — we call it righteous anger. He even used a word that translates roughly to fecal matter. I used to donate my share PLUS–no more. This pope is attempting to derail our Holy Roman Catholic Church. Enough already. The point is obedience but to all that is not sinful.

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