The Vatican has denied Pop Francis has endorsed same-sex unions after a congratulations letter was sent to a gay couple.
Toni Reis and partner David Harrad had celebrated the baptism of their three adopted children in a church in Curitiba, Brazil.
And after informing the Pope, they received a congratulatory letter in return signed by the Vatican Secretariat of State Monsignor Paolo Borgi.
Translated from Portuguese, it said the Holy Father ‘looks with appreciation’ on the baptism of children and ‘expressed his feelings of esteem…and his wishes for the good spiritual fruits of his ministry as Pastor of the Universal Church.’
The letter, which also included a picture of Pope Francis, added: ‘Pope Francis wishes him well, invoking for his family the abundance of divine graces, so that they may live constantly and faithfully the condition of Christians, as good children of God and of the Church, and sends them a propitious Apostolic Blessing, asking them not to stop praying for him.’
However the perception this letter was a blessing of same-sex marriage, of gay unions, or of rainbow families is ‘false’, according to the Vatican.
Church sources claim they were unaware the couple were gay.
Vice director of the Holy See press office Paloma Ovejero told CNA: ‘The letter was directed only to [Reis].
‘Although it is true that in the body of the response there was a reference to a blessing of the family of the recipient, in Portuguese this expression has a generic and ample meaning, equivalent to “all the people close to you.”‘
Pope once said ‘who am I to judge?’
The Pope has repeatedly emphasized his opposition to same-sex marriage, despite once saying ‘who am I to judge?’ on homosexuality.
In a recent trip to the Phillippines, he said: ‘The family is…. threatened by growing efforts on the part of some to redefine the very institution of marriage.’
But despite this, the Vatican is appearing to appear more relaxed when it comes to LGBTI rights on the international stage.
The Pope welcomed Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettell and his husband at the Vatican in March. The couple were there alongside European heads of government for the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome.