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Roman Catholic Bishops of Africa Issue Statement Refusing to Follow Pope Francis’ Declaration 

Signed by Congolese Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo on behalf of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar, or SECAM, the statement said such unions were “contrary to the will of God.” The move comes after Francis on December 18 approved a declaration allowing priests to offer blessings to same-sex couples, which was welcomed by LGBTQ Catholics. In the declaration, the Vatican reaffirmed the traditional Church teaching that marriage is only between a man and a woman but said priests could offer non-liturgical blessings to same-sex couples, as long as those blessings weren’t confused with a wedding.