Catholic bishops’ conferences in some African countries have clarified recent comments on same-sex marriages or unions following continued debate around LGBT issues.
Reports of Pope Francis formally granting Roman Catholic priests permission to bless same-sex couples surfaced over the weekend, sparking varying opinions on social media.
The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops said such relationships “do not find acceptance in our culture.”
Secretary General Fr. Paul Ruto said in a statement that African contexts are “very clear on what a family and marriage is.”
In Zambia, Archbishop Ignatius Chama declared “under no circumstances can [homosexual acts] be approved.”
The Zambian bishops said implementing blessings could breach their country’s laws.
The Nigerian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, led by Archbishop Donatus Ogun, affirmed blessing same-sex unions would contradict “God’s law, the teachings of the Church, the laws of our nation and the cultural sensibilities of our people.”
All three conferences addressed a recent Vatican document allowing discretionary blessings for unmarried couples.
However, Fr. Ruto noted the Vatican “remains firm on the traditional doctrine…not allowing any type of liturgical rite or blessing similar to a liturgical rite that can create confusion.”
Archbishop Chama cited biblical passages in affirming “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.”
The bishops urged LGBT individuals “to embark on the path of conversion.”
Similarly, bishops from other African countries including Ghana have also made it clear that homosexual marriages have no place in their doctrines.