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German cardinals say Pope Francis’ same sex blessings declaration ‘never would have happened’ under Benedict

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A German cardinal in the Catholic Church remarked that Pope Benedict would never have approved Pope Francis’ recent edict allowing priests to bless people in same-sex relationships.

Cardinal Gerhard Mueller made the comment to Reuters while attending an event marking the one-year anniversary of Pope Benedict’s death on Sunday. 

“It never would have happened [under Benedict] because it was so ambiguous,” Mueller told the outlet of Francis’ decision. Mueller had served as the Church’s doctrinal chief under Benedict, a post he lost upon Francis’ ascension.

The Vatican released its new policy in mid-December, stating that, “people seeking God’s love and mercy shouldn’t be subject to ‘an exhaustive moral analysis’ to receive it.”

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Pope Benedict XVI greets the crowd gathered in St Mark’s Square on May 7, 2011, in Venice, Italy. (Marco Secchi/Getty Images)

The Church noted that it remains firm in its stance that marriage is a lifelong sacrament between a man and a woman, and the policy mandated that blessings not be given at the same time as a civil union, using set rituals, or even with other actions or clothing related to weddings.

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The document from the Vatican’s doctrine office says requests for such blessings should not be denied.

“Ultimately, a blessing offers people a means to increase their trust in God,” the document said. “The request for a blessing, thus, expresses and nurtures openness to the transcendence, mercy, and closeness to God in a thousand concrete circumstances of life, which is no small thing in the world in which we live.”

Pope Francis file photo

The Vatican released its new policy in mid-December, stating that, “people seeking God’s love and mercy shouldn’t be subject to ‘an exhaustive moral analysis’ to receive it.” (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino, File)

“It is a seed of the Holy Spirit that must be nurtured, not hindered,” the pope added.

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In the new document, the Vatican said the church must shy away from “doctrinal or disciplinary schemes, especially when they lead to a narcissistic and authoritarian elitism whereby instead of evangelizing, one analyzes and classifies others, and instead of opening the door to grace, one exhausts his or her energies in inspecting and verifying.”

St Peters Basilica pope francis

Pope Francis presides over the Holy Mass in suffrage of Benedict XVI and the cardinals and bishops who died over the past year at St. Peter’s Basilica on Nov. 3, 2023, in Vatican City (Vatican Media via Vatican Pool/Getty Images)

The document stressed that people in “irregular” unions – gay or straight – are in a state of sin. 

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However, it said that should not deprive them of God’s love or mercy.

Fox News’ Pilar Arias and Reuters contributed to this report

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