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(LifeSiteNews) –– The Archbishop Emeritus of Philadelphia, Charles J. Chaput, has severely criticized Fiducia Supplicans saying that “deliberate or persistent ambiguity—anything that fuels misunderstanding or seems to leave an opening for objectively sinful behavior—is not of God.”

Archbishop Chaput published an essay highly critical of both the Declaration and Pope Francis today in the American journal First Things.   

“The document is a doubleminded exercise in simultaneously affirming and undercutting Catholic teaching on the nature of blessings and their application to ‘irregular’ relationships,” the archbishop emeritus wrote.  

Fiducia Supplicans, signed by Cardinal Victor Manuel Fernández of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith and approved by Pope Francis, was released on December 18. It immediately caused a firestorm dividing—if not atomizing—the Catholic Church, as LGBT advocates celebrated it as a recognition of homosexual relationships, orthodox Catholics decried it as a betrayal of the Catholic faith, and papal apologists sought to prove that it was neither.    

Chaput began his essay by saying that “confused teaching” is “never excusable.” 

“Deliberate or persistent ambiguity—anything that fuels misunderstanding or seems to leave an opening for objectively sinful behavior—is not of God,” Chaput stated.  

“And it inevitably results in damage to individual souls and to our common Church life.”  

Chaput observed that as soon as Fiducia Supplicans was released, it was “quickly interpreted as a significant change in Church practice.” He noted that Father James Martin and other Catholic LGBT advocates had hailed the document as a victory. He observed that “the dominant flavor and underlying purpose” of the New York Times article which featured a photo of Martin blessing a same-sex couple “were captured best by the various gay men interviewed who spoke of the Church ‘com[ing] around’ to the legitimacy of same-sex relationships.”  

“Where to begin?” he lamented.  

Chaput began by pointing out that the Pope is supposed to unify, not divide, either the Church or the bishops. He added that a “loving pastor” must “correct as well as accompany.”  

“Pope Francis often seems to separate these roles while Jesus himself always embodied both in his ministry,” the archbishop emeritus observed. “His words to the woman caught in adultery were not simply ‘Your sins are forgiven’ but also ‘Go and sin no more.’” 

He observed that sinful relationships are “now often described as ‘irregular,’” which leads to “confusion about what we can and can’t call ‘sin’.” 

While it is impossible for the Church to change her teaching, Chaput stated that Fiducia Supplicans “seems” to be attempting to do so with respect to the sinfulness of homosexual acts.  

Chaput criticized a statement Pope Francis gave in response to the “pushback” of bishops around the world, saying that his warning against “rigid ideological positions” is “now the Holy See’s default response to any reasoned reservations about, or honest criticism of, its actions.” 

The archbishop emeritus added that Pope Francis’ “public complaining diminishes the dignity of the Petrine office and the man who inhabits it,” is disrespectful to his brother bishops, and “is not of God.” 

“Characterizing fidelity to Catholic belief and practice as ‘fearfully sticking to rules’—the words belong to PBS, but the intent is clearly the pope’s—is irresponsible and false,” Chaput wrote. “The faithful deserve better than such treatment.” 

Chaput also called out the Pope for his decade of ambiguity on certain matters of doctrine and practise, his “unjust and unformed” criticism of American Catholics, his tolerance for the “effectively in schism” German Church, and his request for the “de-masculinizing” of the Church. He even took a shot at the comparative triviality of having a Synod on Synodality, when Christians face urgent challenges.  

Noting that he was courting accusations of disloyalty, Chaput said the true disloyalty “is not speaking truth with love.”    

“And that word ‘love’ is not some free-floating balloon of goodwill. It’s an empty shell without the truth to fill it,” he added.