NEW YORK - Pope Francis said that the Catholic Church welcomes and blesses gay people but cannot bless their unions because God "cannot bless sin." Catholic teaching holds that marriage between a man and woman is part of God's plan and is intended for the sake of creating new life.
Pope Francis has endorsed providing gay couples in same-sex unions with legal protections but that is for civil protections only.
"Love is not the problem, hate is. And this is just a backwards step by the Vatican, there's no reason for it," LGBT Network President David Kilmnick said. "It's mean-spirited and I think it's only going to cause harm and violence to so many people out there."
He said his message to church leaders is to "get out of the Dark Ages."
A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of New York said this news is nothing new.
The Holy See believes "marriage is the life-long, life-giving union of one man and one woman. That has always been the consistent teaching of the Church," director of communications Joseph Zwilling said. "They also reaffirmed the consistent teaching of the Church that all persons are to be welcomed and respected, regardless of sexual orientation, and that any form of unjust discrimination must be rejected."
White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked what President Joe Biden, a devout Catholic, thought about the Vatican's decree. She said he doesn't have a personal response to the Vatican's decree.
"He continues to believe and support same-sex unions," she said.
The Vatican issued the decree on same-sex unions as part of a response to a question about whether Catholic clergy can bless gay unions. Pope Francis approved the answer, which was published in seven languages.
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