Pope Francis Clarifies Stance on Blessing Same-Sex Unions in Historic Interview

In an exclusive look at a historic 60 Minutes interview set to air on Sunday, Pope Francis clarified his position on allowing Catholic priests to bless same-sex couples. The 87-year-old pontiff’s comments come after he made waves in December for seemingly suggesting he would be open to some Catholic priests blessing same-sex unions. The clarification follows a December 2023 document from the Vatican’s doctrine office that gave Catholic priests permission to bless same-sex couples, which was praised as a “major step forward.”

Pope Francis: "What I allowed was not to bless the union"

During the interview with Norah O’Donnell, Pope Francis emphasized, “What I allowed was not to bless the union. That cannot be done because that is not the sacrament.” He further explained, “To bless a homosexual-type union, however, goes against the given right, the law of the Church. But to bless each person, yes. The blessing is for everyone. For everyone.”

When O’Donnell noted that Pope Francis once said, “Homosexuality is not a crime,” the pontiff responded in agreement, stating, “It is a human fact.”

The Pope’s comments aim to provide clarity on the matter, as the December declaration by Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández stated that the new rule didn’t amend “the traditional doctrine of the church about marriage” and that it didn’t allow for liturgical rites that resemble the sacrament of marriage.

Vatican's December 2023 Document on Blessing Same-Sex Couples

The Vatican’s doctrine office released a document in December 2023 that gave Catholic priests permission to bless same-sex couples, which was praised as a “major step forward.” However, the document stressed that any “rites and prayers that could create confusion between what constitutes marriage…and what contradicts it are inadmissible.”

According to the document, the declaration is intended to allow those seeking the blessing “to open one’s life to God, to ask for his help to live better” and live with greater faithfulness.

Pope Francis' Efforts to Open Up the Catholic Church

In the rare and wide-ranging conversation, Pope Francis discusses his efforts to open up the Catholic Church to everyone, including those who have long been shunned by the institution, which is one of the reasons many call him the “People’s Pope.”

As the first pope from the Americas and the first of his name, Pope Francis has dedicated his life and ministry to the poor, the peripheral, and the forgotten, all while leading the Catholic Church on difficult and sometimes controversial issues that not everyone supports.

The interview, conducted in the Pope’s native Spanish through a translator, lasted for more than an hour and showcased the 87-year-old’s warmth, intelligence, and conviction.

Upcoming Broadcast of the Full Interview

The full 60 Minutes interview with Pope Francis will air on Sunday, May 19, at 7:00 p.m. EST/PST on the CBS Television Network and streaming on Paramount+.

CBS News will also air an hourlong special with Pope Francis on Monday, May 20, at 10 p.m. EST on the CBS Television Network and streaming on Paramount+.