VATICAN CITY (LifeSiteNews) — The incoming prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has hinted at a possible differing with his predecessor and an openness to same-sex “blessings,” despite the Catholic Church’s ban on such events.
Speaking to Spanish-news outlet InfoVaticana July 4, Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernández fielded questions on the German Synodal Way, his appointment as CDF prefect, and his views on same-sex “blessings.”
Asked about the CDF’s March 2021 responsum condemning same-sex “blessings,” Fernández did not give a straightforward answer, but instead suggested a future possibility of allowing homosexual “blessings.” He replied:
Look, just as I am firmly against abortion (and I challenge you to find someone in Latin America who has written more articles than me against abortion), I also understand that ‘marriage’ in the strict sense is only one thing: that stable union of two beings as different as a man and a woman, who in that difference are capable of engendering new life. There is nothing that can be compared to that and to use that name to express something else is neither good nor right.
Continuing, Fernández outlined his support for homosexual “blessings,” if they were given in a way that “does not cause that confusion.” He argued:
At the same time I believe that we must avoid gestures or actions that could express something different. That is why I think that the greatest care to be taken is to avoid rites or blessings that could feed that confusion.
Now, if a blessing is given in such a way that it does not cause that confusion, it will have to be analyzed and confirmed. As you will see, there is a point where we leave a properly theological discussion and move on to a question that is rather prudential or disciplinary.
Fernández’s openness to same-sex “blessings” comes against the teaching of the Catholic Church, which has been clearly and repeatedly outlined in recent decades by the very congregation he is set to lead in a few months.
Under the outgoing CDF Prefect Cardinal Luis Ladaria Ferrer, S.J., the Vatican ruled in the negative in March 2021 as to whether the Catholic Church has the “power to give the blessing to unions of persons of the same sex.”
The CDF 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.”
“The presence in such relationships of positive elements, which are in themselves to be valued and appreciated, cannot justify these relationships and render them legitimate objects of an ecclesial blessing, since the positive elements exist within the context of a union not ordered to the Creator’s plan,” the statement read.
The CDF’s 1975 document, Persona Humana, also spoke similarly with the words: “There can be no true promotion of man’s dignity unless the essential order of his nature is respected.”
Under the leadership of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in 1986, the CDF issued a document instructing bishops on the pastoral care of homosexual persons. Bishops were admonished to ensure they, and any “pastoral program” in the diocese, were “clearly stating that homosexual activity is immoral.”
Such an authentic pastoral approach would “assist homosexual persons at all levels of the spiritual life: through the sacraments, and in particular through the frequent and sincere use of the sacrament of Reconciliation, through prayer, witness, counsel and individual care,” stated the CDF.
However, should Fernández continue to argue in favor of same-sex “blessings” he would appear to have some papal support, albeit not the support of the Church or of Catholic Tradition. Since the CDF’s 2021 document, Pope Francis has made numerous public statements praising and supporting advocates of LGBT ideology and same-sex civil unions.
Indeed, the Pope removed the CDF official credited with the 2021 document: Archbishop Giacomo Morandi was named as bishop of the Italian diocese of Reggio Emilia-Guastalla, in what was billed as a move done in order to remove him from the Vatican’s halls of power. Morandi was the CDF’s secretary, thus number two in the high-ranking Vatican congregation.
The Pope’s act has been described as a deliberate sign of his displeasure at the document on a number of occasions. In April 2022, Sr. Jeannine Gramick – the repeatedly condemned co-founder of dissident LGBT group New Ways Ministry – argued that the CDF officials had been removed, as Pope Francis had approved the document “with not full knowledge.”
“The way he rescinds it [the 2021 document] is to remove the person who did the damage, and put in people who won’t do damage in the future,” she said. “It’s all very subtle.”
In recent weeks, the openly-homosexual papal confidant Juan-Carlos Cruz echoed this, and repeated his prior claims that Pope Francis had fired the officials responsible. “You’ll have to trust me that the people that wrote that letter are no longer in the CDF,” said Cruz. “And that’s really good, but we need to do much, much more.”
Another notable hint at the Pope’s position can be found in the revelations made by Belgium’s Bishop Johan Bonny. In September 2022, Bonny argued that the Pope supported the Belgian bishops’ controversial same-sex “blessings” guidelines. “And I know that our guidelines for the blessing of homosexual couples, which we recently published, are in line with Pope Francis,” he said, adding that this was important to him “because communion with the Pope is sacred to me.”
This statement he repeated in March, shortly after providing key advice and encouragement to the German Synodal Way in support of their vote which approved same-sex “blessings.”
“Not every man in Rome is the Pope. I have personally spoken twice with the Pope on these issues,” he said, when asked about his support for homosexual “blessings” and his relationship with the Vatican. “From my conversations I know what my relationship with Pope Francis looks like – we speak ‘cum Petro et sub Petro’. But not the whole Vatican is ‘cum Petro et sub Petro.’”
Continuing, Bonny hinted at discord within the Vatican on the issue of same-sex “blessings”:
There are also different positions and developments in the Vatican. The theological faculties in Rome also belong to the Vatican and the Catholic Church in Rome. Rome is not just a document or a cardinal. No, Rome is also unity in diversity.
Citing “personal conversations” with Pope Francis, Bonny re-iterated Francis’ support for same-sex “blessings,” after Bonny and his fellow Belgian bishops became the first group of Catholic bishops to produce guidelines for such practices. Bonny would “not say publicly what and how he said anything, but I know that I and we are not going against the Pope. This is very important for me and for the other bishops in Flanders.”