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Catholic Church boils as Pope approves blessing for same-sex couples

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Catholic Church engulfed in controversy over Vatican Fiducia Supplicans

Adherents and non-adherents of the Catholic Church alike are currently embroiled in controversial disputes following the recent approval of blessing for same-sex couples by Pope Francis, contained in a declaration entitled “Fiducia Supplicans”.

Pope Francis’s approval was issued by the Vatican on December 18, 2023, signed by Prefect Víctor Manuel Cardinal Fernández and Secretary for the Doctrinal Section, Monsignor Armando Matteo.

“Vatican Fiducia Supplicans” refers to a declaration issued by the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith approved by Pope Francis, which stated that it is possible to bless same-sex couples, but without ritualization or offering the impression of a marriage.

Before the synod on synodality that was held in Rome in October 2023 amongst the questions asked the Holy Father directly by a group of bishops (DUBIA) was whether “the Church is now going to be blessing irregular so-called marriages or not.”

By rule, the Catholic Pope was expected to answer yes or no, but this time he did not.

Thus, the document tried to explain to those who asked that question “what is meant by blessing in the Catholic Church?”

An analyst claimed that the document talks of two types of blessings: ritual/spontaneous blessing and liturgical blessing.

He said that every faithful, even a thief, has the right to ask a priest to pray for him or her, not to be a confirmed thief but as a sign of belief, and the priest with his prudence can pray for him or bless her.

“In the same way, when gay or lesbians ask for prayer, it is not a call for nuptial Mass; the priest is free to pray for them without judging them whether worthy or unworthy of blessings,” the analyst stated.

The Vatican Fiducia Supplicans, which is accused of being a mild endorsement of Gays and Lesbians in some quarters, said amongst other things:

♦ This Declaration considers several questions that… was submitted to the Holy Father for his review, and he approved it with his signature.

♦ One can understand the possibility of blessing couples in irregular situations and same-sex couples without officially validating their status or changing in any way the Church’s perennial teaching on marriage.

♦ This Declaration is also intended as a tribute to the faithful People of God, who worship the Lord with so many gestures of deep trust in his mercy and who, with this confidence, constantly come to seek a blessing from Mother Church.

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♦ This Dicastery has considered several questions of both a formal and an informal nature about the possibility of blessing same-sex couples and—in light of Pope Francis’ approach.

♦ The Responsum elicited numerous and varied reactions: some welcomed the clarity of the document and its consistency with the Church’s perennial teaching; others did not share the negative response it gave to the question or did not consider the formulation of its answer and the reasons provided in the attached Explanatory Note to be sufficiently clear.

♦ Pope Francis described it as “something that is not marriage is being recognized as marriage” which is the “exclusive, stable, and indissoluble union between a man and a woman, naturally open to generation of children”.

♦ The Responsum of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, states that the Catholic Church does not have the power to impart blessings on unions of persons of the same sex.

♦ That when people ask for a blessing, an exhaustive moral analysis should not be placed as a precondition for conferring it. For, those seeking a blessing should not be required to have prior moral perfection.

Hiding under the cloak of “blessings of couples in irregular situations and of couples of the same sex”, it stated further:

♦ Within the horizon outlined here appears the possibility of blessings for couples in irregular situations and for couples of the same sex, the form of which should not be fixed ritually by ecclesial authorities to avoid producing confusion with the blessing proper to the Sacrament of Marriage.

In such cases, a blessing may be imparted that not only has an ascending value but also involves the invocation of a blessing that descends from God upon those who—recognizing themselves to be destitute and in need of his help—do not claim a legitimation of their own status, but who beg that all that is true, good, and humanly valid in their lives and their relationships be enriched, healed, and elevated by the presence of the Holy Spirit.

♦ One should neither provide for nor promote a ritual for the blessings of couples in an irregular situation. At the same time, one should not prevent or prohibit the Catholic Church’s closeness to people in every situation in which they might seek God’s help through a simple blessing.

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In a brief prayer preceding this spontaneous blessing, the ordained minister could ask that the individuals have peace, health, a spirit of patience, dialogue, and mutual assistance—but also God’s light and strength to be able to fulfill his will completely.

♦ When the prayer of blessing is requested by a couple in an irregular situation, even though it is expressed outside the rites prescribed by the liturgical books, this blessing should never be imparted in concurrence with the ceremonies of a civil union, and not even in connection with them.

Nor can it be performed with any clothing, gestures, or words that are proper to a wedding. The same applies when the blessing is requested by a same-sex couple.

Citing the Sacrament of God’s Infinite Love, Fiducia Supplicans noted that the Church is the sacrament of God’s infinite love, hence, even when a person’s relationship with God is clouded by sin, he can always ask for a blessing, stretching out his hand to God.

According to history, over the years, the Catholic Church has a complex and evolving position on homosexuality.

On one hand, it teaches that homosexual acts are always immoral and contrary to the natural law, based on certain passages in the Bible and the Church’s tradition.

On the other hand, it also teaches that homosexual persons are created in the image of God and deserve respect, compassion, and sensitivity, and that they are called to seek God’s grace and love in their lives.

Little wonder that it issued the Fiducia Supplicans declaration that allows for the blessing of same-sex couples, but without implying a recognition of their union as a marriage!

The Church teaches that, as a person does not choose to be either homosexual or heterosexual, being gay is not inherently sinful.

According to the Catholic theology of sexuality, all sexual acts must be open to procreation by nature and express the symbolism of male-female complementarity.

Therefore, the Church considers homosexual acts to be gravely immoral and contrary to the natural law.

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However, the Church also calls on Catholics to treat gay men and women with respect, compassion and sensitivity, and to avoid any form of unjust discrimination or violence against them.

The Church also recognizes the dignity and value of every human person, regardless of their sexual orientation, and invites them to seek God’s grace and love in their lives.

How do people react to the Catholic Church’s Fiducia Supplicans?

Diaspora Digital Media made the following findings:

Positive:

Some people, especially LGBTQ Catholics and their allies, have welcomed the declaration as a major step forward for the Church’s pastoral care and inclusion of same-sex couples.

They have praised Pope Francis and Cardinal Fernández for their courage and compassion, and have expressed hope that the declaration will lead to more dialogue and understanding within the Church.

Negative:

Some people, especially conservative Catholics and their supporters, have criticized the declaration as a betrayal of the Church’s doctrine and tradition on marriage and sexuality.

They have accused Pope Francis and Cardinal Fernández of undermining the authority of Scripture and the Magisterium, and of causing confusion and scandal among the faithful.

Neutral:

Some people, especially those who are not directly affected by the Fiducia Supplicans declaration, have remained indifferent or ambivalent about the declaration.

They have either not paid much attention to the issue, or have adopted a wait-and-see attitude, or have acknowledged the complexity and diversity of opinions on the matter.

What does the bible say?

Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 prohibit men from having sexual relations with other men as they would with women, calling it an abomination and punishable by death.

Romans 1:26-28 describes how God gave up some people to dishonorable passions, such as women exchanging natural relations for unnatural ones, and men abandoning natural relations with women and burning with lust for one another, committing shameful acts and receiving the due penalty for their error.

Finally, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 lists homosexuals along with idolaters, adulterers, thieves, drunkards, and others as those who will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Read more.


For Diaspora Digital Media Updates click on Whatsapp, or Telegram. For eyewitness accounts/ reports/ articles, write to: citizenreports@diasporadigitalmedia.com. Follow us on X (Fomerly Twitter) or Facebook

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