Catholics should have the reassurance that the pope cannot change Church teaching regarding faith and morals. Yet some images of our Holy Father, based on mainstream media and popular opinion, paint him as a revolutionary regarding Church teaching. In October 2020, a New York Times article on the front page read: “In Shift for Church, Pope Francis Voices Support for Same-Sex Civil Unions.” The article goes on to say: “Pope Francis expressed support for same-sex civil unions in remarks revealed in a documentary film that premiered on Wednesday, a significant break from his predecessors that staked out new ground for the church in its recognition of gay people.”
On March 15, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, with the approval of Pope Francis, responded “no” to the question: “Does the Church have the power to give the blessing to unions of persons of the same sex?” While the question itself and many in the news focus their attention on same-sex unions, the response of the CDF includes all non-marital unions. It writes: “it is not licit to impart a blessing on relationships, or partnerships, even stable, that involve sexual activity outside of marriage.”
While such unions cannot be blessed that “does not preclude the blessings given to individual persons with homosexual inclinations who manifest the will to live in fidelity to the revealed plans of God as proposed by Church teaching.” This response should reassure Catholics that the pope is not changing Church teaching. Whether heterosexual or homosexual, freedom and happiness come from following Christ who does not change.