Pope Francis publishes norms for clergy to ‘bless’ homosexual couples

Pope Francis publishes norms for clergy to ‘bless’ homosexual couples
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Pope Francis’ new document allows clergy to bless any homosexual couple, in contradiction to the unchangeable Catholic teaching that the Church cannot bless sinful relationships.

VATICAN CITY (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis and Cardinal Victor Manuel Fernándezhave issued a text allowing “blessings for couples in irregular situations and for couples of the same sex” in contradiction to the unchangeable Catholic teaching that the Church cannot bless sinful relationships.

The declaration Fiducia Supplicans, issued without warning on December 18 by the Congregation (now Dicastery) for the Doctrine of the Faith’s new prefect, Cardinal Victor Manuel Fernández, presents the results of a project which he has been working on with Pope Francis. 

The text seeks to the door officially for Catholic clergy to provide blessings for same-sex couples, along with the norms outlined by the cardinal and the Pope – something which runs in opposition to constant Catholic teaching and Sacred Scripture.

In paragraph 31 of the text, Fernández writes that:

Within the horizon outlined here is the possibility of blessings of couples in irregular situations and of same-sex couples, the form of which should not find any ritual fixation on the part of ecclesial authorities, in order not to produce confusion with the blessing proper to the sacrament of marriage.

In these cases, a blessing is imparted that not only has ascending value but is also the invocation of a descending blessing from God Himself on those who, recognizing themselves to be destitute and in need of His help, do not claim legitimacy of their own status, but beg that all that is true of good and humanly valid in their lives and relationships be invested, healed and elevated by the presence of the Holy Spirit. These forms of blessing express a supplication to God to grant those aids that come from the impulses of His Spirit – what classical theology calls ‘present graces’ – so that human relationships may mature and grow in fidelity to the Gospel message, free themselves from their imperfections and frailties, and express themselves in the ever-increasing dimension of divine love. {Section 31}

The “horizon outlined here” is found in a contradictory preamble to this section in the document. The cardinal stated early on that all “rites and prayers that could create confusion between what constitutes marriage – which is the ‘exclusive, stable, and indissoluble union between a man and a woman, naturally open to the generation of children’ – and what contradicts it are inadmissible.”

He also noted that “from a strictly liturgical point of view, a blessing requires that what is blessed be conformed to God’s will, as expressed in the teachings of the Church.” Stemming from this, he presented the Church’s teaching, condemning sexual activity outside of marriage: 

The Church does not have the power to confer its liturgical blessing when that would somehow offer a form of moral legitimacy to a union that presumes to be a marriage or to an extra-marital sexual practice. The Holy Father reiterated the substance of this Declaration in his Responses to the Dubia of two Cardinals.

However, the cardinal added next that a blessing should not be reduced to this view only: 

One must also avoid the risk of reducing the meaning of blessings to this point of view alone, for it would lead us to expect the same moral conditions for a simple blessing that are called for in the reception of the sacraments. Such a risk requires that we broaden this perspective further. Indeed, there is the danger that a pastoral gesture that is so beloved and widespread will be subjected to too many moral prerequisites, which, under the claim of control, could overshadow the unconditional power of God’s love that forms the basis for the gesture of blessing.

He stated that a person who asks for a blessing “show[s] himself to be in need of God’s saving presence in his life and one who asks for a blessing from the Church recognizes the latter as a sacrament of the salvation that God offers. To seek a blessing in the Church is to acknowledge that the life of the Church springs from the womb of God’s mercy and helps us to move forward, to live better, and to respond to the Lord’s will.”

According to Fernández, the document presents the ability to bless same-sex couples “without officially validating their status or changing in any way the Church’s perennial teaching on marriage,” despite the new prefect noting that the text’s “theological reflection, based on the pastoral vision of Pope Francis, implies a real development from what has been said about blessings in the Magisterium and the official texts of the Church.”

The new document, also entitled “On the Pastoral Meaning of Blessings,” was issued first in Italian, along with translations into French, English, German, and Spanish, although no Latin version is yet apparent.

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