Hundreds of Catholics stepped forward to bless LGBT+ people during a virtual service in response to the Vatican’s ban on blessings for same-sex couples. The live-streamed event was hosted by Dignity USA, an organisation that works to secure justice and equality for LGBT+ people in the Catholic Church, and was run in conjunction with 19 other groups. Kicking off Pride Month, hundreds of Catholics offered powerful blessings to LGBT+ people and to same-sex couples, including Miguel H Diaz, a former US ambassador to the Holy See, former Irish president Mary McAleese and John Stowe, a Catholic bishop from Kentucky. The powerful half-hour event began with activist Meli Barber thanking the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith (CDF) for drawing attention to the mistreatment of LGBT+ Catholics by issuing its ban on blessings for same-sex couples. “We heard from many Catholics in our town halls, on social media and through other channels that they disagreed with the Vatican,” Barber said. “We thought we’d offer a way for people to come together in celebration of the inclusive church and world we are all working to build.” Dignity USA said that it was inundated with huge numbers of Catholics signing on to its Pride blessing, while many other submitted their own personalised blessings for LGBT+ church members. Mary E Hunt and Diann Neu, co-founders and co-directors of the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER) led the blessing service by offering up a prayer to LGBT+ Catholics. The impactful prayer saw Hunt and Neu thanking God for creating LGBT+ people and for “honouring the many ways people live and love”. Throughout the 34-minute livestream, countless messages from Catholics showed up on screen, offering personalised blessings to queer church members.
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