The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) has taken steps to clarify the Vatican’s controversial decision, stating that it allows priests to offer ‘simple blessings’ for same-sex unions only outside the liturgical setting.

Addressing public concerns on the matter, the Kenyan bishops emphasized that the Vatican’s landmark approval aims to promote inclusion regardless of the moral status of congregants. They further explained that the directive, sanctioned by Pope Francis, is a part of the church’s efforts to broaden the range of pastoral blessings provided.

“This declaration does not in any way approve of “Same-sex Marriages” nor try to give a back-door recognition of such a union. It does not seek an alternative “union blessing” to substitute a Sacramental marriage,” said Most Rev Martin Kivuva, KCCB Chairperson, said.

“What this document seeks is to awaken the invitation of all people to God’s action and grace. The Church seeks to reach out to all individuals in order to stir them to the path of conversion and salvation.”

Archbishop Kivuva further clarified that the decision “does not alter the understanding of Marriage as a Sacrament in the Church, constituting an indissoluble union between a man and a woman for life.”

He emphasized that the “Declaration steadfastly upholds the traditional doctrine of the Church regarding marriage, prohibiting any form of liturgical rite or blessing resembling a liturgical rite that could lead to confusion.”

Vatican Declaration a Blessing to Non-Catholics and Non-Christians

As a result, Kivuva said the document acknowledges the open invitation for anyone, regardless of their “moral life or faith condition,” to receive blessings from the Church or a Church minister.

“The Church does not withhold a blessing to an individual who seeks it with an attitude of truth and faith.  This blessing can be given even to non-Catholics, or non-Christians who honestly wish to receive God’s blessing,” he said.

The KCCB Chairperson elaborated that, within the African context, the Catholic Church maintains a clear definition of family and marriage.

He emphasized that the concept of same-sex marriages faces resistance within the African cultural setting, aligning with the social values prevalent in the region.

“We encourage especially the understanding of blessings as a gesture of humble submission to God and His ways, while recognizing our own sinfulness and need for conversion and of Salvation,” Kivuva said.