In a revelation that underscores the evolving dynamics within the Catholic Church, Roman Catholic Sister Anna Koop has disclosed that she secretly blessed a same-sex couple 15 years ago, long before Pope Francis indicated his support for such unions. Sister Koop, who has dedicated her life to serving the community, asserted that she would repeat the act today, citing the universality of love as a guiding principle.
The 85-year-old nun, who has primarily focused her career on addressing homelessness and poverty in Denver, explained that her decision to bless the couple stemmed from her belief that “Jesus did not say love was confined.” Despite being aware of potential consequences from the Church, she went ahead with the private blessing, emphasizing her intention to “bless the love they celebrate.”
This revelation comes shortly after Pope Francis earned praise from LGBTQ+ advocacy groups for his statement affirming that same-sex couples should be eligible to receive blessings within the Catholic Church. Sister Koop welcomed this development, seeing it as a validation of the action she took 15 years ago.
Remarkably, Sister Koop’s clandestine blessing has had enduring consequences. The couple she blessed all those years ago remains together and has since welcomed two children into their lives. Reflecting on her past actions, Sister Koop expressed no regrets, stating unequivocally, “I did it once and I would do it again.”
In contrast, the Church of England seems to be taking a different path, with Bishop of London Dame Sarah Mullally suggesting that blessing services for same-sex couples are unlikely to be introduced before 2025. This delay arises amidst division within the Church, as the General Synod, the Church of England’s decision-making body, decided in February to continue preventing priests from ordaining same-sex marriages, instead offering blessings.
While the Catholic Church grapples with shifting attitudes, the Church of England has taken steps towards increased inclusivity, issuing a formal apology in January for its historically “hostile” treatment of LGBTQ+ individuals. These developments underscore the ongoing transformation of religious institutions in response to changing societal norms and values.