Editor’s note: This list is being constantly updated as response to Fiducia Supplicans emerge from around the world…
VATICAN CITY (LifeSiteNews) — Catholic bishops across the world are divided in their stance regarding the offering of blessings to same-sex couples following the December 18 decree approving of such blessing issued by Pope Francis and Cardinal Victor Manuel Fernández.
“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,” reads paragraph 31 of the document Fiducia Supplicans.
Issued by Fernández as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and approved by Francis, the text in which the Vatican approved of “blessings” for same-sex couples was the result of a private project between the pair.
Since its shock emergence, bishops and bishops’ conferences around the world have been swift to issue responses: Some have been firm in opposing the text as a departure from tradition and an attempt to bless that which cannot be blessed; others have warmly welcomed the text as a necessary measure.
The great majority have fallen into a middle ground: accepting the text as a natural course of action given its Vatican origin, highlighting particular passages from it in order to affirm the Church’s teaching on marriage, but avoiding making mention of subsequent passages that approve of same-sex blessings in an apparent attempt to avoid controversy.
Individual countries in Africa have been listed below, but the recent statement affecting the entire continent deserves particular treatment.
In a signal move, the president of the bishops’ conferences of Africa and Madagascar declared January 11 that the Catholic bishops in the continent will not be implementing Fiducia Supplicans’ blessing of same-sex “couples” after striking an “agreement” with Pope Francis, saying to do so would contradict African culture which is “deeply rooted in the values of the natural law regarding marriage and family.”
This, however, was soon disputed by the bishops’ conferences of Northern Africa, who on January 15 expressed an openness to offering such blessings, thus contradicting Ambongo’s letter. They wrote: “As for the pastoral practice of blessings, when a person individually asks for a blessing, with the corresponding heart disposition, he will be given it. When people in an irregular situation come together to ask for a blessing, we can give it provided that it does not cause confusion for the interested parties themselves or for others’.”
The bishops of the Southern African bishops’ conference soon followed suit, stating on January 30 that they would offer blessings of homosexual couples “with prudence.”
Bishops and priests opposing Fiducia Supplicans
A growing number of bishops have taken the striking move of opposing the Vatican issuing approval for same-sex blessings, outlining the Catholic teaching on blessings and homosexuality while doing so.
Angola & São Tomé
According to local news, the bishops’ of the two countries issued a statement noting how blessings for same-sex couples “would create a huge scandal and confusion among the faithful, so we have determined that it should not be carried out in Angola and São Tomé.”
Antilles & French Guiana
In a January 21 statement, bishops in the ecclesiastical Provence of Antilles and French Guiana stated that “in accordance with the fundamental principles of Fiducia Supplicans and in order to avoid any confusion,” priests could bless individuals but were forbidden from conferring blessings “in irregular situations or of the same sex.”
One of Cardinal Fernández’s predecessor’s as Archbishop of La Plata, Archbishop Hector Aguer, has continued his robust criticism of Pope Francis by writing “Fiducia supplicans should not be obeyed.”
He noted how the CDF’s 2021 ban on same-sex blessings “said that a homosexual couple cannot be blessed because God cannot bless sin. That is the truth. Every blessing implies God’s complacency in the person, or the object blessed.”
The Australian Confraternity of Catholic Clergy have followed the lead of their counterparts in Britain and the U.S. in issuinga statement noting how “[s]exual acts outside the covenant of marriage between people of different sexes or the same sex do not correspond to the plan of the Creator.”
Noting how “authentic pastoral and spiritual care” must be tied to “an unambiguous presentation of God’s plan for human sexuality and marriage,” the clergy wrote that blessings “can never be bestowed on sinful acts nor legitimize relationships that are intrinsically incompatible with the divine plan.”
As highlighted by Messa in Latino, Brazil’s Bishop Adair José Guimarães of the Diocese of Formosa declared December 23, that the diocese would not adopt Fiducia Supplicans. Noting the strong possibility that the document would cause “scandal and misunderstanding,” and consequently the diocese would not be implementing the document.
Guimarães added that he would soon be providing a document for the diocese on a way forward in light of the confusion caused by the Vatican’s text.
Burkina Faso & Niger
In a December 28 statement by the bishops’ conferences for the two countries the Catholic teaching on homosexuality was upheld: “the word of God disapproves of homosexuality as an abomination.”
They ruled out blessings for same-sex couples, saying that “such blessings cannot be achieved without scandal for the faith and morals of our Christian faithful and without setting the Catholic Church in a bad light.”
In one of the strongest responses, the bishops of Cameroon –represented by president of the nation’s bishops’ conference Archbishop Andrew Fuanya Nkea – declared that “we formally forbid all blessing of ‘homosexual couples’ in the Church of Cameroon.”
Their December 21 statement also noted that “rejecting it [homosexuality] is in no way being discriminative; it is a legitimate protection of the constant values of humanity in the face of a vice that has become the subject of a claim to legal recognition and, today, the subject of a blessing.”
Hong Kong’s beloved emeritus Cardinal Joseph Zen issued a strong rebuttal to Fiducia Supplicans on his personal website, in which he highlighted issues with the local translation of the document before addressing the original text itself. He highlighted that FS did not call for priests to examine couples to see if their lives were in accordance with Christian morals.
He also condemned Cdl. Fernández’s referencing of “good” in same-sex relations, and called for him to resign as a result: “If the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is not committing a heresy by claiming a serious sin as ‘good,’ then shouldn’t the Prefect resign or be dismissed?”
Hungary’s bishops’ conference, in a December 27 statement, firmly ruled out the possibility of accepting Fiducia Supplicans in the country. Priests “can bless all people individually, regardless of their gender identity and sexual orientation” the bishops noted, adding “but it must always be avoided, to give a common blessing to couples living together in a purely relationship, in a non-church marriage or in a same-sex relationship.”
Diocese of Szombathely
Bishop János Székely additionally issued his own statement, noting how:
When a same-sex couple asks for a blessing, precisely by asking for it together, they express that they also want to ask for God’s blessing, the moral approval of the church, for their relationship, their decision on life. We would falsify the gospel of Christ and miss what we, as pastors, would have to do to such a couple if we were to bless the two of them in such a case.
He directed his priests not to perform such blessings.
Writing December 27, Bishop Marcellin Yao Kouadio (president of the nation’s bishop’s conference) instructed all clergy “to refrain from blessings of same-sex couples and couples in an irregular situations.”
Our people [are] strongly attached to the values arising from natural law in matters of marriage and family, we note that the reception of this possibility given by the Fiducia Supplicans Declaration to bless same-sex couples is problematic in our ecclesial context…This offends our ancestral and cultural values, and gives the impression that our Church approves and encourages an intrinsically bad reality, unnatural and contrary to our habits and customs.
From the Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana, Archbishop Tomas Peta and his more well-known auxiliary, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, issued a statement declaring that there is “great deception and … evil that resides in the very permission to bless couples in irregular situations and same-sex couples.”
Their directive opposing any form of same-sex blessings was not just to the clergy but to the faithful: “We exhort and prohibit priests and the faithful of the Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana from accepting or performing any form of blessing whatsoever of couples in an irregular situation and same-sex couples.”
“Such a blessing directly and seriously contradicts Divine Revelation and the uninterrupted, bi-millennial doctrine and practice of the Catholic Church,” they added. “With such blessings, the Catholic Church becomes, if not in theory, then in practice, a propagandist of the globalist and ungodly ‘gender ideology.’”
— LifeSiteNews (@LifeSite) December 21, 2023
VATICAN: Bishop Schneider speaking to @JhWesten recently in #Rome says blessing same-sex couples gives “a message that we can live such a way…this is contrary to the creation of God, the will of God.”
Such blessings are “blessing the near occasion of sin for them,” he said. pic.twitter.com/cvr1dLwN8B
— Michael Haynes 🇻🇦 (@MLJHaynes) December 20, 2023
Archdiocese of Nairobi
In a December 23 letter to his Archdiocese of Nairobi, Archbishop Philip Anyolo wrote to the entire archdiocese explaining that Catholic teaching on marriage had not, and could not change.
“Homosexual unions are against reason, against nature and against African culture,” he wrote, adding how “[a]ny form of blessing of same-sex unions and activities would go against God’s word, the teachings of the Church, the African cultural traditions, the laws of our nations, and would be scandalous to the faithful.”
“All clergy residing and ministering in the Archdiocese of Nairobi are prohibited from blessing irregular relationships, unions, or same sex couples,” he concluded.
Diocese of Wote
Wote’s Bishop Kariuki Njiru issued a stern rejection of blessings for same-sex couples, according to local news, stating that the document “should be rejected in totality, and we faithfully uphold the Gospel teachings and Catholic tradition teachings on marriage and sexuality.”
He prohibited all his priests “from blessing couples in irregular situations or same-sex couples,” adding that “what is disturbing in this declaration [Fiducia Supplicans] is that, on one hand, it directs the priests to bless these couples without specifying what exactly is being blessed, while on the other hand, it expressly forbids any ritual text that might specify it.”
On December 19, the bishops conference of Malawi issued a statement instructing that “to avoid creating confusion among the faithful we direct that for pastoral reasons, blessings of any kind and for same-sex unions of any kind, are not permitted in Malawi.”
The statement was signed by nine of Malawi’s 12 prelates.
In a very carefully worded statement, the Dutch bishops’ conference wrote on January 16 to present their interpretation of Fiducia Supplicans. They noted they would bless “individuals,” including those in “irregular relationships,” but studiously avoided using the word “couple,” thus implying they would not bless couples.
In a January 2 statement, Bishop Rafael Escudero López-Brea of the diocese of Moyobamba in northern Peru wrote that Fiducia Supplicans “damages the communion of the Church, for such blessings directly and seriously contradict Divine Revelation and the doctrine of the Church.”
“Blessing couples in an irregular situation and same-sex couples is a grave abuse of the Most Holy Name of God, which is invoked over an objectively sinful union of fornication, adultery, or even worse, homosexual activity,” he said. He also rejected the equivocation which is being widely made by defenders of the text: “To bless a couple is to bless the union that exists between them. There is no logical, real way to separate one from the other.”
“Since practicing sexual acts outside marriage, that is, outside the indissoluble union of a man and a woman open to the transmission of life, is always an offense against the will and wisdom of God expressed in the sixth commandment … people who are in such a relationship cannot receive a blessing,” read a statement from the Polish bishops’ conference spokesman on December 21. “This applies in particular to people in same-sex relationships.”
In a December 20 statement, yet another African bishops’ conference announced they would not be welcoming Fiducia Supplicans. Rwanda’s bishops warned how same-sex blessings would be “confused with the sacrament of marriage.” It is not possible for the Church to bless such marriages, they noted, since they are “against God’s law” and the culture.
Speaking in a December 21, 2023 video interview, Metropolitian Hilarion of the Russian Orthodox said same-sex blessings were “dangerous” due to the message they would send that the Church “approves of this lifestyle, of this type of sexual behavior.” He warned that such blessings would prevent people from discovering the authentic teaching regarding the prohibition of homosexual activity.
As in the U.S, the U.K. and Australia, opposition to same-sex blessings in Spain is coming largely from priests. A petition launched December 31 by 157 Spanish priests (based in Spain but also in Spanish-speaking South America) calls on Pope Francis to “annul ‘Fiducia Supplicans.'”
We adhere to the revealed truth, collected in the Bible and in Tradition and interpreted by the secular Magisterium of the Church. Blessing couples in an irregular situation or in homosexual coexistence, even if it is extra-liturgical, contradicts God’s plan. In conscience we cannot accept the recognition of this type of blessing
Society of St. Pius X
The Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) issued two statements, both firmly rejecting the Vatican’s argument for same-sex blessings. The first, a general one from the Society as a whole, referenced the “scandalous nature” of Fiducia Supplicans. Warning about the deliberate confusion the Vatican had caused, the SSPX’s assessment stated how “in the blessing of a ‘couple,’ the very object of the blessing is this illegitimate union that Catholic doctrine condemns.”
In a subsequent missive, the superior general, Fr. Davide Pagliarani, warned Fiducia Supplicans not only teaches “that a minister of the Church can call down God’s blessing on sinful unions, but by doing so, it actually reinforces these situations of sin.”
The arguments behind the Vatican’s text “only accelerates the loss of souls and the destruction of Catholic morality,” he wrote.
The Diocese of Chur’s emeritus, Bishop Marian Eleganti, wrote December 20 condemning Pope Francis and Cardinal Fernández’s move. “The so-called magisterium of Francis, which is presented as something new and unprecedented in contrast to tradition, is a nonsensical conceptual neologism by Cardinal Fernandez, because popes, like bishops, are guardians of the Church’s teaching and its unbroken tradition,” Eleganti penned.
On December 30, the Catholic bishops’ conference of Togo also joined the growing protest from Africa. The wrote that Fiducia Supplicans “is far from an approval or a sacramental validation of the union of persons of the same sex.” Drawing directly from Pope Francis’ own dubia response to the five dubia cardinal from July 2023, they noted that:
“Rites and prayers are inadmissible which could cause confusion between that which constitutes marriage, namely ‘an exclusive, stable and indissoluble union between a man and a woman, naturally open to the procreation of children’ and that which contradicts it.” For this reason, as regards the blessing of homosexual couples, the bishops of Togo direct priests to refrain from doing this.
Confraternity of Catholic Clergy
While no bishops have come out protesting the Vatican’s document, in their place a group representing over 500 clergy has issued a paper against Fiducia Supplicans. The British Confraternity of Catholic Clergy reitertated Catholic teaching condemning homosexuality.
The paper, not signed by members but issued by the organization, closed:
We believe that genuine charity always follows true doctrine and that such blessings would work against the legitimate care a priest owes to his flock. With honest parresia and from our own experience as pastors we conclude that such blessings are pastorally and practically inadmissible.
The traditional community of Redemptorists in the very north of Scotland wrote December 22 that they agreed with the concerns expressed by prelates such as Cdl. Müller, Abp. Viganò, the bishops of Cameroon and numerous others who recognize that “the priestly blessing of couples in ‘irregular relationships’ and the blessing of ‘homosexual couples’ is opposed to Catholic Faith and Morals; opposed to the teaching of the Church for the last two thousand years; and must be opposed by us and by all Catholics.”
The document Fiducia Supplicans, they wrote, “is deeply offensive to Our Lord. Published as it was on the feast of the Expectation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, it comes as a bitter sword of sorrow thrust into Her Immaculate Heart.”
Ukranian Greek Catholics
The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, one of the Eastern Catholic Churches, issued a diplomatically worded but firm text declaring that they would not be enacting Fiducia Supplicans. Written by the church’s head, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, the text noted that the Vatican’s document “interprets the pastoral meaning of blessings in the Latin Church, not in the Eastern Catholic Churches,” and in accord with Canon Law did not bind the Ukrainian Greek Catholics.
Noting how a blessing “means approval, permission,” Shevchuk wrote how a blessing:
can in no way contradict the teaching of the Catholic Church about the family as a faithful, indissoluble, and fruitful union of love between a man and a woman, which Our Lord Jesus Christ raised to the dignity of the Holy Sacrament of Matrimony. Pastoral prudence urges us to avoid ambiguous gestures, expressions and concepts that would distort or misrepresent God’s word and the teaching of the Church.
Confraternity of Catholic Clergy (USA)
Shortly after the British confraternity issued a statement, the U.S. branch of the Confraternity wrote how they “unite our concerns” to those expressed by the U.K. clergy.
“Sinful behavior and disordered inclinations can never be blessed or condoned,” they wrote. “Even the appearance of endorsement of any moral evil must be avoided at all cost lest one infer that the one giving the ‘blessing’ is also a formal cooperator in evil, which is always forbidden.”
Archdiocese of Philadelphia
On December 22, Philadelphia’s emeritus Archbishop Charles Chaput attested that Fiducia Supplicans is “a doubleminded exercise in simultaneously affirming and undercutting Catholic teaching on the nature of blessings and their application to ‘irregular’ relationships.”
“Deliberate or persistent ambiguity—anything that fuels misunderstanding or seems to leave an opening for objectively sinful behavior—is not of God,” Chaput stated.
Byzantine Eparphcy of Parma
The Byzantine prelate Bishop Robert Pipta issued a carefully worded document responding to Fiducia Supplicans. He welcomed the need for blessings for individuals looking to avail of God’s grace, but warned that the Church cannot offer a blessing for a couple of the same-sex:
Important to note is that, in our society, the word “couple” has come to be understood as two people who have entered a relationship that is either one of dating, engagement, or marriage. According to Church teaching, two people of the same sex cannot be in any of these types of relationships. There can never be a Church blessing for these.
Dioceses of Rapid City and Sioux Falls
In a joint statement from South Dakota’s Bishop Peter M. Muhich (Rapid City) and Bishop Donald E. DeGrood (Sioux Falls), Catholics were warned that some feared “Fiducia Supplicans will have the impact of normalizing serious sin. Indeed it is troubling that some, even in the Church, may seek to use it for this purpose.”
The bishops noted that “the ministers of the Church have no power to bless sin,” and that “any sort of blessing that would give the semblance of condoning sin is not to be granted.”
Diocese of Tyler
Responding within hours of Fiducia Supplicans’ publication, the emeritus bishop of the Diocese of Tyler, Bishop Joseph Strickland, issued an exclusive video message via LifeSite in which he called for a “united voice” rejecting the Vatican’s document.
“We really simply need to be a united voice saying, ‘no,’ we will not respond to this,” Strickland stated, addressing his fellow bishops in particular. “We will not incorporate this into the life of the Church because we simply must say ‘no.’ And it needs to be a united voice.”
Speaking in an interview with El Pais, Uruguay’s Cardinal Daniel Sturla condemned Fiducia Supplicans for its contents and its deliberate confusion. However, contrary to many bishops, he noted that the document was clear in that it was advocating the blessing “of the couple,” and that is something which “the whole tradition of the Church…says that is not possible to do.”
The cardinal archbishop of Montevideo stated that while the Church “is for everyone,” there “are certain rules. You can’t bless a couple that is not married. You cannot bless unions that the Church itself says are not in accordance with God’s plan.”
In a lengthy analysis and detailed destruction of Fiducia Supplicans, the former prefect of the CDF – Cardinal Gerhard Müller – wrote that “blessings” of homosexual couples constitute “blasphemy” and that the document is “self-contradictory.”
“Given the unity of deeds and words in the Christian faith, one can only accept that it is good to bless these unions, even in a pastoral way, if one believes that such unions are not objectively contrary to the law of God,” he wrote.
Emeritus prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Guinean native, Cardinal Robert Sarah, joined his fellow African prelates in opposing FS. Writing January 6, Sarah said “I share and make my own” the statements of bishops’ conferences in Cameroon, Chad, and Nigeria.
Such opposition to Fiducia Supplicans is not an opposition to Pope Francis, he explained, but instead is a move “firmly and radically opposing a heresy that seriously undermines the Church, the Body of Christ, because it is contrary to the Catholic faith and Tradition.”
The former Papal Nuncio to the U.S., Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, issued an explosive condemnation of same-sex blessings on Thursday, styling all promoters of the “delirious Declaration Fiducia Supplicans” as “servants of Satan and his most zealous allies.”
“I exhort all those who have been awarded the dignity of cardinal, my brothers in the episcopate, priests, clerics, and faithful to oppose most firmly this mad race towards the abyss to which a sect of renegade apostates would like to force us,” he concluded.
Another African nation rejecting same-sex blessings is Zambia, with a December 20 text from the bishops there being “based on Sacred Scripture which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity.”
They clearly announced Fiducia Supplicans would not be implemented in the country. “In order to avoid any pastoral confusion and ambiguity as well as not to break the law of our country which forbids same-sex unions and activities, and while listening to our cultural heritage which does not accept same-sex relationships, the Conference guides that the Declaration from the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith of Dec 18th 2023 concerning the blessing of same-sex couples be taken as for further reflection and not for implementation in Zambia.”
The statement was signed by 12 of the 17 prelates in the country, including the president and vice president of the nation’s bishops conference.
Welcome for Vatican’s promotion of same-sex blessings
In contrast to these above prelates and priests, Fiducia Supplicans has received vocal support from around the Church, with bishops welcoming the text’s promotion of blessings for same-sex couples despite Scripture and Tradition condemning such activity.
On December 18, Archbishop Franz Lackner – head of Austria’s bishops’ conference – warned that clergy “can no longer say no” to a request for a “blessing” of same-sex couples. Lackner, speaking in an interview, expressed his “joy” at Fiducia Supplicans, although he later had to issue a partial retraction via a spokesman regarding the apparent obligation for clergy to offer such blessings.
Lackner’s “joy” was supported by other prelates from Austria, including Bishop Josef Marketz of the Diocese of Gurk-Klagenfurt, who said the Vatican’s text was an “important step towards an open Church.”
Belgium’s Catholic bishops already approved blessings for same-sex couples in September 2022. But a December 22 statement on the website of the bishops’ conference welcomed FS as “a huge step towards the recognition of loyal and lasting homosexual relationships.” “As an lgbti + person you are fully accepted and can even now additionally bless your relationship,” the statement added.
Antwerp’s Bishop Johan Bonny also expressed his approval of Fiducia Supplicans as being in line with the Belgian bishops’ same-sex blessings.
Archbishop Mate Uzinić in Rijeke welcomed the text, saying it was “a call not to throw stones, but to be close to those who seek God’s closeness.” Earlier this year, he invited pro-LGBT Fr. James Martin S.J. to partake in a conference and speak on LGBT activism and “Jesus reaching out to the margins.”
In a communique dated January 10, the French bishops’ conference responded en masse to Fiducia Supplicans, not expressing strong support until the end of their statement. Blessings which did not resemble marriage, would be a sign of the Church’s “broad and unconditional welcome,” they wrote.
Unsurprisingly, the president of the German Bishops’ Conference (DBK), Bishop Georg Bätzing, issued a warm welcome to the Vatican’s text. “I very much welcome this document and am grateful for the pastoral perspective it takes,” he said, praising how it “means that a blessing can be given to couples who are unable to marry in the Church due to divorce, for example, and to same-sex couples.”
Numerous German prelates echoed this praise for same-sex blessings, including Archbishop Stefan Heße and Bishop Heinrich Timmerevers, while other German prelates had already opened the door for clergy in their dioceses to offer such blessings earlier in the year. In March, the German Synodal Way voted to approve same-sex blessings, and following Fiducia Supplicans key personnel from the Synodal Way called for a formula to be drawn up for such blessings in the country.
The former Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Cardinal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, spoke with clergy in the Archdiocese of Panama to defend Fiducia Supplicans as being “not heretical.” Maradiaga’s brief comments bear particular weight, given his longstanding close relationship with Pope Francis, and his 10-year role leading the Pope’s C9 council of cardinals.
The newly created cardinal, Cdl. Stephen Chow S.J. of Hong Kong wrote December 23 that Fiducia Supplicans has at its heart “a call for clergy to impart pastoral blessings to those who are in same-sex or irregular relationships, but are asking for the mercy of the Father.”
“Some media reports mistakenly comment that the Church now also give recognition to same-sex marriages,” wrote Chow, saying that the text “is not only rooted in biblical tradition and church teaching, but also highlights Pope Francis’ keen pastoral instincts.”
“The Diocese of Hong Kong hopes that more people in society will experience God’s mercy and blessings through the inspiring message of this declaration.”
Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, one of the pope’s close advisors, issued not unsurprising praise for Fiducia Supplicans as being in line with his own past practice. “Jesus never refused a blessing … that’s the idea,” he said, while adding that it was “absolutely not” a move forward to same-sex marriage.
The Catholic archbishop of Dublin, Archbishop Dermot Farrell issued a statement January 8, following Cdl. Fernández’s defense of Fiducia Supplicans. He quoted from the cardinal’s statement to outline that priests were not permitted to refuse blessings for same-sex couples.
“In other words, we who are in ministry are to keep before our eyes our service of ‘the gift of blessing that flows from the Heart of Christ through his Church.’ (Fiducia Supplicans, §1) After all, anyone who, in good faith, seeks a blessing is turning towards the Lord and his way,” he wrote.
The president of the Italian bishops’ conference, Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, announced the position of the Italian episcopate supporting Fiducia Supplicans during a meeting of the permanent council on January 22. Citing “today’s challenges for the proclamation of the Gospel,” Zuppi stated the bishops “welcomed” Cdl. Fernández’s text.
He called it “a document that is set within the horizon of mercy, of the Church’s loving gaze on all God’s children, without, however, departing from the teachings of the Magisterium.”
Following Cdl. Fernández’s January 4 defense of Fiducia Supplicans, the Portuguese bishops’ conference issued their statement on the document to announce they were in “full communion,” with the Pope, and his proposal for same-sex blessings. Like Madrid’s Cdl. Cobo, the Portuguese hierarchy highlighted Fernández’s warning that local interpretation of the document could not permit its rejection.
The newly created cardinal of Madrid, Cardinal José Cobo, stated in an interview January 8 that he will be firmly enforcing compliance with Fiducia Supplicans. “In Madrid we are going to fully apply the Pope’s doctrine, and that is why we are going to apply ‘Fiducia supplicans’ with the intensity that the document deserves and asks for, and whoever does not agree, I invite you to read it,” he said.
It appears that Cobo personally intervened to cancel the rapidly growing petition against FS, which had been launched by Spanish priests. The priests were “seriously admonished,” stated Cobo, and could not publicly express opposition “to the ordinary doctrine of the Holy Father.”
While Bishop Eleganti opposed Fiducia Supplicans, his fellow Swiss prelates welcomed the text.
In a December 19 statement, the Swiss bishops’ conference declared that the Vatican text was “in line with the Swiss bishops’ desire for an open Church that takes people in different relationship situations seriously, respects and accompanies them.” They added how the text “explicitly permits the blessing of same-sex couples for the first time and states that the Church has expanded and enriched its understanding of blessings.”
Quick to respond was Chicago’s Cardinal Blase Cupich, who called the Vatican’s text “a step forward, and in keeping not only with Pope Francis’s desire to accompany people pastorally but Jesus’ desire to be present to all people who desire grace and support.”
His article was, notably, reprinted by Vatican News, as a marked sign of official support for Cupich’s interpretation of the text.
Self-proclaimed Catholic President Joe Biden also joined the ranks of those lauding the document.
“The president, along with many Catholics around the world, welcomed the declaration from the Vatican done with the approval of Pope Francis that allows for the blessing of same-sex couples,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stated on December 19.
She added that “anything specific we would have to refer to the Church, but obviously we welcome the step in the church ministry to the LGBTQ people.”
Meanwhile, while such strong reactions have emerged supporting and rejecting the Vatican’s proposal for same-sex blessings, the majority of bishops (such as in the U.S.) have taken a conciliatory middle ground, seeking not to take a strong position on the text that Cardinal Müller has argued is “self-contradictory” and proposes “blasphemy.”
This story is developing …