Pope effectively demotes official credited with notorious statement on same-sex couples

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ROME (AP) — Pope Francis took the first step Monday to revamp the Vatican’s powerful doctrine office, removing the No. 2 official widely seen as responsible for a controversial document banning Catholic Church blessings for same-sex couples because God “cannot bless sin”.

Francis has appointed Bishop Giacomo Morandi, currently secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, bishop of the Italian diocese of Reggio Emilia-Guastalla. The move amounts to a demotion as Morandi currently holds the title of archbishop, but is heading for a small diocese, not an archdiocese.

The Vatican says Morandi will still retain the title of archbishop personally.

According to the archives (September 2013): Pope diverts Church’s attention from abortion and gay rights

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, or CDF, is one of the most important offices of the Vatican, interpreting the doctrine of the universal Catholic Church, sanctioning dissenters and dealing with cases of sexual abuse of minors by clergy. . Morandi joined the CDF as under-secretary in 2015 and was promoted to secretary, or No. 2 post, in 2017.

He was widely believed to be behind the March 2021 document that outraged the gay community, which Francis has worked to welcome into the fold of the church.

The document stated that the Catholic Church would not bless same-sex unions because God “cannot bless sin.” The document says Francis was made aware of the document and “gave his assent” to its publication, but Francis was apparently taken aback by its impact.

Francis has since made several gestures to raise awareness of the gay Catholic community and its advocates, including a recent letter congratulating a former CDF-sanctioned American nun, Sister Jeannine Gramick, on her 50 years of LGBTQ ministry.

Extract from the archives (October 2020): “Homosexuals have the right to be in a family. They are children of God,” Pope Francis says in a new documentary.

The CDF is currently led by Jesuit Cardinal Luis Ladaria, but he is expected to retire relatively soon as he turns 78 in April, three years past the normal retirement age for bishops.

Besides Morandi, there are two “additional secretaries” at the CDF, including US Archbishop Joseph Di Noia, who is also due to retire soon as he turns 79 in July. The other is Archbishop Charles Scicluna, but he has a full-time job as Archbishop of Malta.

Morandi’s impending retirements and transfer therefore suggest some leadership changes at the office, though they are unlikely to be announced until Francis releases the blueprint for his expected reform of the overall Vatican bureaucracy. during the year.

Also see: Pope Francis calls vaccination a ‘moral obligation’

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