Vatican gives directives regarding same-sex blessings

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18/12/2023
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In 2021, the then Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, led by Jesuit Cardinal, Luis Ladaria, stated that same-sex couples could not receive a blessing.

But this statement did not end the controversy and the question continued to be discussed throughout the next two years. Some bishops were in favor of blessing same-sex couples so long as it was done in a way that would not be confused with marriage.

Now, the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith is headed by the Argentine Cardinal, Víctor Manuel Fernández. He has worked with Pope Francis and, after consulting with experts on the matter, has published the declaration, “Fiducia supplicans.” It clarifies the meaning of the word “blessing.” The declaration says that blessing should not be compared to a sacrament because this would diminish its value. It also explains a blessing is not a reward and people in irregular situations can request it if they recognize…

“…themselves to be destitute and in need of His help—do not claim a legitimation of their own status…”

The declaration also explicitly points out what is needed to avoid confusion.

“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.”

The Dicastery's declaration also highlights the importance of not creating or promoting particular rituals for blessing couples in irregular situations.

This means that people in these situations, for example, same-sex couples, can ask for a blessing to pray to God for quote “light and strength” “to fully accomplish his will,” as the declaration states.

The declaration insists that within the Catholic Church sexual relations are only morally licit in the context of marriage and this only exists when the union is between a man and a woman. It also points out the Church quote “has no power to confer its liturgical blessing” on unions that presume to be a marriage.


JRB
TR: KG

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