Read 1 Corinthians 5:1-13.
If two people involved in an adulterous affair come to a priest and ask him to bless them, should the priest bless the couple?
The answer is no!
The individuals come seeking the priest to recognize them as a couple. They cannot be recognized as a couple; for to do so is to bless sin. The relationship they have entered is not a marriage nor can it ever be one before God. In love, the priest has the responsibility to rebuke the sinful relationship (1 Timothy 5:20). The two have entered into sin and the priest’s responsibility is to seek their restoration with God. This requires confession and repentance (Galatians 6:1). The couple comes without repentance.
In the first episode of BBC’s Ballykissangel, a Guarda officer comes to the new priest at the confessional asking for absolution from a sin he is planning to commit. As the priest tells him, he cannot give absolution from a sin that is contemplated. In fact, such a request is presumption before God; willful presumption is deliberate sin. We may laugh at the scenario, but the scenario reflects the very real attitude of those who seek absolution without repentance.
Before the priest may bless an individual, he must seek to bring that one to recognize the sin and then to confess and repent. Likewise, every Christian has the duty to “rebuke your neighbor directly, [so that] you will not incur guilt because of him” (Lev. 19:17). To bless a person in rebellion against God without repentance becomes a curse and oneself as an enabler of sin. The priest, likewise, every Christian, is to speak the truth in love and so seek to restore the person.
In recent weeks, the Church of England has approved and will eventually mandate the blessing of same-sex couples. Such blessings are not only insupportable but are sinful acts by the priests who perform them. Clergy who take part in such a blessing have disqualified themselves from their orders and must be laicized. They have taken what is holy and trampled it underfoot. For they have failed to rebuke continuing sin; they have performed a de facto wedding, they have blessed sin; and they have left the individuals in a state of rebellion against God.
“But actually, I wrote you not to associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister and is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or verbally abusive, a drunkard or a swindler. Do not even eat with such a person. For what business is it of mine to judge outsiders? Don’t you judge those who are inside? God judges outsiders. Remove the evil person from among you.” (1 Corinthians 5:11–13, CSB)