Bishops around the world have been divided on how to implement the document or whether to implement it at all.
The Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar, which represents all of the African bishops’ conferences, is refusing to bless same-sex couples. In a statement, it said such blessings could not be carried out on the continent “without exposing themselves to scandals.”
The bishops’ conferences in Hungary and Poland similarly rejected any blessings for same-sex couples, as have various other bishops around the world.
Alternatively, the heads of the bishops’ conferences in other countries, such as Austria, Germany, and Argentina, have embraced the declaration and the opportunity to bless same-sex couples. Some other bishops’ conferences, such as the United States, have accepted the declaration but put a strong emphasis on ensuring that such blessings are not confused as a change in Church teaching.
Francis, in his interview, dismissed the idea that this division could spark a schism in the Catholic Church.
“In the Church, there have always been small groups that manifest reflections of a schismatic nature,” the pope said. “One must let them carry on and pass away… and look ahead.”