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VATICAN CITY (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis’ recent interview on CBS’ 60 Minutes is notable for a variety of statements made by the Pontiff, among the most prominent being his seemingly contradictory and misleading claims on Fiducia Supplicans.

In a now fully released CBS 60 Minutes interview, conducted by Norah O’Donnell, Pope Francis was questioned once more on the December 2023 text Fiducia Supplicans (FS) which was issued from the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF), overseen by Prefect Cardinal Victor Manuel Fernández. In paragraph 31 of the document, the Pope authorized blessings “of couples in irregular situations and of same-sex couples.” 

O’Donnell queried Francis: “Last year you mandated that Catholic priests be allowed to bless same-sex couples. That’s a big change. Why?”

Replying in Spanish, Francis did not respond to the question as asked, with O’Donnell using the term “couples” and the Pope instead referring to “unions” in his response, stating: 

No, what I allowed was not to bless the union. You can’t do that because it’s not the sacrament. I can’t. The Lord made it that way. But I do bless each person. The blessing is for all. For everyone. Blessing a homosexual type union is against the law, natural law, Church law. But blessing every person, why not? The blessing is for everyone. Some were scandalized by that. Why? For everyone. Everyone!

O’Donnell continued: “You said, ‘Who am I to judge? Homosexuality is not a crime.’” To which Francis replied: “No. It is a human fact.”

O’Donnell’s questions were posed in English, with a translator translating them into Spanish for Francis using an in-ear headphone. 

Since the emergence of the embattled FS text, Francis and Fernández have sought to defend the document on numerous occasions, including on January 15, 2024, February 7, 2024, and March 15, 2024. Speaking to the DDF assembly in late January, Francis attested that FS blesses only the people but not the union:

When a couple spontaneously approaches to ask for them, one does not bless the union, but simply the people who together made the request. Not the union, but the people – of course taking into account the context, the sensitivities, the places where people live and the most appropriate ways to do it.

FULL LIST: Where do bishops stand on blessings for homosexual couples?

Such a line is consistent with what Fernández had told this correspondent last September when he attempted to differentiate between blessing homosexual unions and blessing homosexual couples: 

What the Church said is that the homosexual union is not blessed, because it [the Church] has the clear definition of marriage which is a union between a male and female open to new life…

But perhaps also [they] need blessings, not only one isolated person, but two persons who are asking for a blessing because they want to be faithful to God, they want to be better, they want to grow in their Christian life.

Issuing FS, Fernández stated 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 DDF 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.”

In issuing the text, Francis and Fernández have attempted to draw a distinction between an official homosexual union and a homosexual couple. “I do not bless a ‘homosexual marriage,’ I bless two people who love each other and I also ask them to pray for me,” said Francis in February.

On paper, the pair appear to balk at giving a blessing to a legally recognized homosexual union if it were perceived as approving the union itself, but see no problem giving a blessing to two people living together as a couple in a homosexual lifestyle. 

Same-sex unions cannot be blessed per se, the pair have stated: but in contrast, two people, possibly even in a same-sex union, can appear together as a couple and ask for a blessing as a couple. This, Francis and Fernández state, is perfectly acceptable – provided such a blessing doesn’t imitate sacramental marriage. 

It is in the face of such blatant double-speak that global opposition to FS has emerged from across the globe. 

The Church has not, and cannot, bless or approve of same-sex unions. This was highlighted also by Robert Cardinal Sarah in his own blistering critique of FS: “Some in the media claim that the Catholic Church encourages the blessing of same-sex unions. They lie.”

Francis and Fernández have claimed that FS is in line with the then-CDF’s 2021 note prohibiting blessing same-sex unions. At the time, the CDF stated clearly that the Church does not have “power to give the blessing to unions of persons of the same sex.”

But the CDF went further than simply prohibiting blessing for legal unions, and stated that it is “not licit to impart a blessing on relationships, or partnerships, even stable, that involve sexual activity outside of marriage (i.e., outside the indissoluble union of a man and a woman open in itself to the transmission of life), as is the case of the unions between persons of the same sex.”

In rejecting FS, Sarah also joined his voice to that of the Cameroon bishops, who issued a particularly strong statement forbidding “all blessing of ‘homosexual couples’” and describing homosexuality as “a vice that has become the subject of a claim to legal recognition and, today, the subject of a blessing.”

So great is the confusion spread by FS, stated Sarah, that he ruled out entering “into discussion” with the document, instead citing “the Word of God and the Magisterium and traditional teaching of the Church.”

Indeed, Sarah isolates one of the chief issues: the Church has not approved of blessing a same-sex union in se, but by offering blessings to homosexual couples who may or may not be in a legal union, society will understand only that the Catholic Church approves of same-sex unions.

READ: Pope Francis again defends blessing homosexual ‘couples,’ downplays idea it causes ‘schism’

But further, by constantly stating that he has not approved of same-sex unions, Francis is refusing to answer the issue at hand. Indeed, in the CBS interview it was a refusal to answer the very question which was posed to him, namely, “You mandated that Catholic priests be allowed to bless same-sex couples. That’s a big change. Why?”

There is no manner in which Francis could deny such a statement, since FS expressly states that such blessings for homosexual couples are permitted. Instead, he resorts to answering a question which wasn’t asked – rejecting the notion that he approved same-sex unions themselves.

“We need to read what the document actually says,” wrote Bishop Joseph Strickland, highlighting FS’s approval of blessings for same-sex couples, in response to the comments Francis made to CBS News.

Such a style of argumentation is evident also in the current push for female deacons. Francis appears aware that it is impossible to allow women into the diaconate, since it would violate immutable Church teaching. But the advocates for female deacons are pushing for an alternate understanding of the diaconate: a role which might not involve entering the clerical state, but yet still be called the diaconate. They feel safe in arguing for this, knowing that, technically, they would be leaving the sacramental diaconate alone, while still actually achieving their goal. 

In like manner the push for approval of homosexual behavior is dominating the Church. So far Francis and Fernández have not attempted to outright approve same-sex unions per se. But by offering blessings to people in such unions, and to homosexual couples who may not have bothered with legally entering such a union, they are in practice appearing to approve of the behavior, the lifestyle, and the union itself.