Tomash Peta, archbishop of Saint Mary in Astana, Kazakhstan, has condemned the Vatican’s approval of blessings for same-sex couples.
In a significant shift in Catholic doctrine on Monday, Pope Francis permitted priests to look kindly on queer couples seeking favours from God.
Although the Vatican clarified that “such blessings should not be conducted with any church rites that offer the impression of a marriage”, the pope said “pastoral charity” requires patience and understanding.
He added that priests should not become judges “who only deny, reject and exclude”.
In a joint statement on Tuesday alongside Athanasius Schneider, auxiliary bishop, Peta called the pope’s new stance a “great deception”.
The archbishop forbade all priests and parishes in his archdiocese from blessing same-sex couples, noting that it “directly and seriously contradicts Divine Revelation and the uninterrupted, bimillennial doctrine and practice of the Catholic Church”.
The clergymen said the Vatican’s orders do “not walk uprightly according to the truth of the Gospel” and called on the Pope to revoke the permission to bless couples in an “irregular situation” and same-sex couples, so that the Catholic Church may shine clearly as the “pillar and ground of the truth”.
Peta also warned priests that “this effort to legitimize such blessings” will have “far-reaching and destructive consequences” and, at least in practice, turns the Catholic Church into a “propagandist of gender ideology”.
Since Pope Francis took office in 2013, he has worked to reform church governance, making it less hierarchical and paying more attention to those who have expressed concerns about exclusion.
In 2021, the Vatican decreed that the Catholic Church would not bless gay marriages because God “cannot bless sin”.
But in a turn of events two months ago, the Pope hinted that he would be open to having the Catholic Church bless same-sex unions.
The Pope’s attempts at reforming the church has been met with stiff internal resistance with Peta being the first prelate to publicly condemn the Vatican’s declaration allowing same-sex blessings.