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Robert Cardinal Sarah

VATICAN CITY (LifeSiteNews) — The prominent African prelate Cardinal Robert Sarah has joined the growing numbers of bishops who have rejected Fiducia Supplicans, stating that it proposes a “heresy that gravely undermines the Church, the Body of Christ, because it is contrary to the Catholic faith and tradition.”

In a lengthy statement published by veteran Vatican journalist Sandro Magister, Sarah joined his voice to those of his fellow African bishops in rejecting Fiducia Supplicans’ endorsement of same-sex “blessings.”

Published on January 8 and dated on January 6, the cardinal noted how homosexual activity is against “natural law,” Scripture, and the Church’s moral law – all of which he cited in his statement.

Such actions “are contrary to the natural law,” he wrote, drawing on Persona Humana. 

They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not stem from true affective and sexual complementarity. They cannot be approved under any circumstances. Any pastoral approach that fails to recall this objective truth would be failing in the first work of mercy, which is the gift of truth.

His statement came in light of the December 18, 2023, document Fiducia Supplicans from Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, which purports to allow “blessings” of same-sex “couples.” The document shied away from explicitly stating that such “blessings” are for homosexual “unions,” but rather for “couples.”

Referencing this, Sarah wrote how “some in the media claim that the Catholic Church encourages the blessing of same-sex unions. They lie.”

READ: St. John Paul II shows how Pope Francis’ same-sex ‘blessings’ are incompatible with Catholic teaching

He accused “some bishops” of doing likewise, stating that they are “sowing doubt and scandal in souls of faith by claiming to bless homosexual unions as if they were legitimate, in conformity with the nature created by God, as if they could lead to holiness and human happiness.” 

All such actions do “is generate error, scandal, doubt and disappointment,” he wrote, adding how: “These bishops ignore or forget Jesus’ stern warning against those who scandalize the little ones: ‘If anyone scandalizes one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better to hang a millstone around his neck and throw him into the depths of the sea’ (Mt 18:6).”

Due to its “lack of clarity,” Fiducia Supplicans “has only amplified the confusion in people’s hearts, and some have even seized on it to support their attempts at manipulation,” wrote the Guinean cardinal.

As such, he ruled out entering “into discussion” with the document, instead citing “the Word of God and the Magisterium and traditional teaching of the Church.”

READ: Cardinal Müller: Global rejection of Fiducia Supplicans should give Vatican ‘food for thought’

Sarah drew extensively from Sacred Scripture, along with more recent Vatican texts under the reign of Pope John Paul II. 

Fernández had argued for a distinction in the kinds of “blessings” when making his defense of offering same-sex “blessings,” but Sarah rejected the foundations of the argument. He noted how Fiducia Supplicans “writes that blessing is instead intended for people who ‘ask that all that is true, good and humanly valuable in their lives and relationships be invested, healed and elevated by the presence of the Holy Spirit’ (n. 31).”

This, he said, is an anomaly: “But what is good, true and humanly valid in a homosexual relationship, defined by Sacred Scripture and Tradition as serious depravity and ‘intrinsically disordered.’?”

Writing in detail about the attempted distinction between forms of blessings, Sarah stated in full:

Allow me, therefore, not to fall into vain arguments about the meaning of the word blessing. It’s obvious that we can pray for the sinner, it’s obvious that we can ask God for his conversion. It’s obvious that we can bless the man who, little by little, turns to God to humbly ask for the grace of a true and radical change in his life. The Church’s prayer is not denied to anyone. 

But it can never be diverted to become a legitimization of sin, of the structure of sin, or even of the impending occasion of sin. The contrite and penitent heart, even if still far from holiness, must be blessed. 

But let’s remember that, in the face of unconverted and hardened hearts, no words of blessing come from the mouth of St. Paul, but rather this warning: ‘With your hardened heart, which does not want to be converted, you are storing up wrath against yourself for that day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed, he who will render to each according to his deeds’ (Rom 2:5-6).

Quoting the Catechism and Pope Benedict XVI, the cardinal noted that “Homosexuals are called to chastity” and that respect for an individual “doesn’t mean that homosexuality is right. It remains something radically opposed to the very essence of what God originally intended.”

In a particularly signal move, Cardinal Sarah allied himself with the number of African bishops and bishops’ conferences who have issued their rejection of Fiducia Supplicans, naming in particular “those of Cameroon, Chad, Nigeria.” 

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

Cameroon’s bishops 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.”

Cardinal Sarah encouraged more bishops to follow suit in such statements and thanked the “Episcopal Conferences which have already done this work of truth, in particular those of Cameroon, Chad, Nigeria, etc., whose decisions and firm opposition to the Declaration ‘Fiducia supplicans’ I share and make my own.” 

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.”

READ: Archbishop Viganò: Cdl Fernández’s defense of Fiducia Supplicans shows his ‘manifest heresy’

Indeed, the Guinean prelate also linked the push for same-sex “blessings” to the current Synod on Synodality, warning that “we need to be on our guard against the manipulations and plans that some are already preparing for this next session of the Synod.”

“All this confusion, aroused by the Declaration ‘Fiducia supplicans,’ could reappear under other, more subtle and hidden formulations at the second Session of the Synod on Synodality, in 2024, or in the text of those helping the Holy Father to draft the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation,” he wrote. 

Sarah’s fellow African bishops have been among the vanguard of the Catholic prelates opposing Fernández’s text. With his voice now joined to theirs and many other bishops across the world, the continued pushback to Fiducia Supplicans continues to grow.