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#LoveisLove can now be ‘blessed’. Like some car. Should we be happy?

The Vatican has released a position paper approved by Pope Francis stating that LGBTQIA people in relationships may also be “blessed”. Just to be clear: This is NOT an approval of LGBTQIA relationships since the Roman Catholic Church still sees what we do as sinful.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels.com

A few years ago, a close friend bought a secondhand old, OLD car. It already had numerous issues, he admitted, but “it should get me – and my passengers – from Point A to Point B.”

Before using this car, right after getting it from the old owner, he drove it to the nearest church. And there, the car was “blessed” by a priest (for a fee, of course), asking a deity to “watch over those who use this unit”, to “safely deliver them to where they have to go.” A quick basbas (sprinkling of water) was done, and… that was it, the car was blessed.

And so now, the Vatican has released a position paper approved by Pope Francis stating that LGBTQIA people in relationships may also be “blessed”.

Just to be clear:

  1. This is NOT an approval of LGBTQIA relationships since the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) still sees what we do as sinful (meaning, your coupling remains an abomination).
  2. Instead, it’s a step – if you can call this that – to “include” people like us, to make us feel we’re also welcome in God’s embrace.

Exactly because this is “just” a blessing – much like the basbas that was given to my friend’s car (or to new rosaries before Catholics use them, or to the palaspás/palm frond during Palm Sunday) – this is NOT some seal of approval, so to speak, given by the RCC to us and to those we love. Almost like pampalubag-loob (something to appease us/to soothe our wounded feelings) since the Vatican itself stressing that:

  • marriage is ONLY between a man and a woman;
  • blessings for LGBTQIA people in relationships must not be tied to any specific Roman Catholic celebration or religious service;
  • blessings should NOT be conferred at the same time as a civil union ceremony (presumably to avoid creating an impression that it sanctions the aforementioned ceremony); and
  • blessings cannot use rituals, or involve the clothing and gestures belonging in a man-woman wedding.

Yeah, yeah… it is good to recognize the big implication of this decision on RCC, e.g. those in RCC who abhor us now have to recalibrate their ways of seeing us, and treatment of us (this is if they want to follow Saint Peter’s successor, the Pope, who – in Matthew 16:19 – was given authority by Jesus himself: “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”). That it took the RCC this long to make such a change is what’s surprising, actually, particularly since antiquated beliefs have been making Roman Catholics to leave their faith (one in 10, according to the Pew Research Center).

But still… as “grand” as the “blessing” may seem to be, let’s temper everything (e.g. expectations, desires, et cetera). We are so deprived, we make even the smallest of pansin (attention) into something huge. Because as “magnificent” as this may seem, LGBTQIA people are still not seen by RCC as equals of hetero-identifying people. So either we should be demanding for more… or just stop begging for our haters’ approval altogether.

The founder of Outrage Magazine, Michael David dela Cruz Tan completed BA Communication Studies from University of Newcastle in NSW, Australia; and Master of Development Communication from the University of the Philippines-Open University. He grew up in Mindanao (particularly Kidapawan and Cotabato City), but he "really came out in Sydney" so that "I sort of know what it's like to be gay in a developing, and a developed world". Conversant in Filipino Sign Language, Mick can: photograph, do artworks with mixed media, write (DUH!), shoot flicks, community organize, facilitate, lecture, and research (with pioneering studies under his belt). He authored "Being LGBT in Asia: Philippines Country Report", and "Red Lives" that creatively retells stories from the local HIV community. Among others, Mick received the Catholic Mass Media Awards in 2006 for Best Investigative Journalism, and Art that Matters - Literature from Amnesty Int'l Philippines in 2020. Cross his path is the dare (guarantee: It won't be boring).

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