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Nigerian Catholic Bishops damn Pope, reject blessing of gay marriages or unions



Catholic Church engulfed in controversy over Vatican Fiducia Supplicans

The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) has rejected the approval of Pope Francis for Catholic clerics to bless gay marriages or gay unions or divorcees.

The Catholic Bishops made the remarks in a press release entitled “Concerning Fiducia Supplicans: A declaration by the dicastery for the propagation of the faith on the pastoral meaning of blessings in the church

The statement was in reaction to a DDM report on Thursday containing a directive by the Vatican Church issued by the Vatican on December 18, 2023, signed by Prefect Víctor Manuel Cardinal Fernández and Secretary for the Doctrinal Section, Monsignor Armando Matteo.

The report stated that 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”.

Read the full report below:

Fiducia Supplicans: Catholic Church roils as Pope approves blessing for same-sex couples

The Nigerian Catholic Bishops, said in response, however, that they will stick to the original Catholic norms.

They stated categorically that they will not bless gay marriages or gay unions or divorcees who refuse to remarry in the Church.

They also vowed not to support concubinage either, saying that these are irregular and unholy unions.

They pledged to abide by the Catechism of the Church on the definition of marriage to mean the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of others and children produced within holy unions.

The communique reads:

“Following the issuance of the Declaration on the Pastoral meaning of blessings, “Fiducia Supplicans” (pleading with courage) by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Fatih, we, the members of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), recognise our duty as Pastors to clarify the content of the document, given the various nuances of interpretation that it has already been given.

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“The Declaration seeks to clarify the different forms of blessing that can be given to persons and objects in the Catholic Church, including the possibility of blessing persons in irregular unions. Such unions include but are not limited to divorced and remarried couples whose previous marriages had not been annulled, those living in same-sex unions, those in polygamous unions, in concubinage, etc.

“The Declaration acknowledges and carefully distinguishes between ritual, liturgical, and informal blessings.

“While ritual or liturgical blessings are imparted according to the established norms of the Church, informal blessings refer to prayers over people who ask for them outside the liturgy or any formal celebration in the Church.

“The Declaration offers a consideration of the possibility of extending the informal blessing to all God’s children, irrespective of their moral condition, when they ask to be blessed.

“Nevertheless, the Declaration insists that the blessing of persons in irregular unions and never the union itself-can only take a non-liturgical form to avoid confusion.

“It should not be imparted during or in connection with a civil wedding ceremony or with clothing, words, and signs associated with a wedding.

“The Declaration reiterates the Catholic Church’s perennial teaching on marriage as an “exclusive, stable and indissoluble union of a man and woman, naturally open to the generation of children” and emphatically states that the Church does not have the power to impart a blessing on irregular unions.

“The Declaration also reinforces the truth about God’s mercy. For one to willingly ask for a blessing demonstrates one’s trust in God and the desire to live according to God’s commandments.

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“Asking for God’s blessing is not dependent on how good one is. Imperfection is the reason for seeking God’s grace.

“Therefore, those in irregular unions are invited never to lose hope but rather to ask for God’s grace and mercy while remaining open to conversion.

“In conclusion, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria assures the entire People of God that the teaching of the Catholic Church on marriage remains the same.

“There is, therefore, no possibility in the Church of blessing same-sex unions and activities.

“That would go against God’s law, the teachings of the Church, the laws of our nation and the cultural sensibilities of our people.”

The CBCN also thanked all the Priests for their accompaniment of married couples, asking them to continue in all they do to sustain the sacrament of holy matrimony and never to do anything that would detract from the sacredness of this sacrament.

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