A group of Catholic priests said they will continue blessing same-sex couples a day after the Vatican made clear that the Church can not do so.
“We members of the Parish Priests Initiative are deeply appalled by the new Roman decree that seeks to prohibit the blessing of same-sex loving couples. This is a relapse into times that we had hoped to have overcome with Pope Francis,” the Austrian-based group said in a statement reported by Reuters.
The statement comes a day after the Vatican answered whether the Church have the power to give the blessing to unions of persons of the same sex.
“Negative,” the Vatican bluntly noted.
The statement disappointed some church members who were hoping for a more accommodating view from the Vatican, as some parishes have already begun blessing such unions in lieu of marriage. Some are hoping that the Vatican will begin to recognize and then institutionalize the practice, which is being opposed by conservatives.
“We will -- in solidarity with so many -- not reject any loving couple in the future who ask to celebrate God’s blessing, which they experience every day, also in a worship service,” the group said.
The Parish Priests Initiative was reportedly founded in 2007 and now claims to have around 350 Church members and over 3,000 lay supporters.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has not reacted to the Vatican’s recent statement, but it has consistently upheld church orthodoxy while accepting Pope Francis’ previous support for same-sex couples.