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Malawi's Catholic bishops meet with Pope Francis in 2015.

LILONGWE, Malawi (LifeSiteNews) — The Episcopal Conference of Malawi issued a directive on Tuesday forbidding the blessing of same-sex unions in the wake of confusion over a Vatican declaration allowing blessings “for couples of the same sex.”

An official declaration by the Malawi bishops’ conference states 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.”

On Monday, December 18, Pope Francis and Cardinal Victor Manuel Fernández issued Fiducia Supplicans, which allows “blessings for couples in irregular situations and for couples of the same sex” in contradiction to the unchangeable Catholic teaching that the Church cannot bless sinful relationships.

While Fernández makes clear in the document that such blessings must not be construed as blessings “proper to the sacrament of marriage,” he admits 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 2021, the CDF stated clearly that the Church does not have 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.”

While the Episcopal Conference of Malawi stressed that Fiducia Supplicans is “NOT about the blessing of same sex unions” but rather the blessings of individuals “regardless of their state,” Fernandez emphasized in the Vatican declaration that the blessings he addresses are imparted to relationships in particular.

In paragraph 31 of the text, Fernández writes that:

Within the horizon outlined here is the possibility of blessings of couples in irregular situations and of same-sex couples, the form of which should not find any ritual fixation on the part of ecclesial authorities, in order not to produce confusion with the blessing proper to the sacrament of marriage.

In these cases, a blessing is imparted that not only has ascending value but is also the invocation of a descending blessing from God Himself on those who, recognizing themselves to be destitute and in need of His help, do not claim legitimacy of their own status, but beg that all that is true, good, and humanly valid in their lives and relationships be invested, healed and elevated by the presence of the Holy Spirit. 

These forms of blessing express a supplication to God to grant those aids that come from the impulses of His Spirit – what classical theology calls ‘present graces’ – so that human relationships may mature and grow in fidelity to the Gospel message, free themselves from their imperfections and frailties, and express themselves in the ever-increasing dimension of divine love.

Fernández’s suggestion that there is “good” in same-sex relationships also defies the reality of such relationships as gravely morally sinful. 

In his first letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul states that homosexual actions are sinful, explaining that “neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers” will “inherit the kingdom of God,” but rather, according to his letter to the Romans, those who practice homosexuality will receive “in their own persons the due penalty for their error.”