A formal response was given to the question as to whether or not the Catholic church would 'bless' gay unions or not.

The bottom line: The answer was 'negative.'

The reasoning they gave: God "cannot bless sin."

The formal response came from the Vatican's orthodoxy office, which is the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It was a two-page answer which was subsequently translated into seven languages and affirmed by Pope Francis before being published on Monday, March 15.

The answer was celebrated by conservatives and was obviously upsetting to those advocating for Catholics who identify as part of the LGBT community.

It did cause quite a heated discussion within the German catholic church, which according to NBC Connecticut, "has been at the forefront of opening discussion on hot-button issues such as the church's teaching on homosexuality."

Reformers had hoped for a more progressive stance from the Vatican under the leadership of Pope Francis.

Last year, Pope Francis said (during an interview conducted for a documentary) that "homosexual people have a right to be in a family. They're children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out or be made miserable over it. What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered."

The Vatican said this statement was taken out of context, saying that Pope Francis' statement was only regarding the civil realm, but was not regarding a religious blessing.

The Vatican did seek to clarify that the response as to whether or not the Catholic church would 'bless' homosexual unions did not negate their position under Pope Francis that the church would continue to be welcoming of gay people, but they were concerned that blessing gay unions would be taken as a type of "sacramental recognition" that could be seen as a blessing of gay marriage.

More on this story from the Associated Press here.

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