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(Catholic Culture) — True, Monday’s declaration from the Vatican does not change Church teaching. Fiducia Supplicans earnestly insists on a distinction between giving a blessing to a homosexual couple and blessing their relationship. Good luck conveying that distinction to the world.

Anyone can ask a priest for a blessing; that has never been in question. But when two people ask a priest to confer a blessing on them as a couple, how can the Church avoid the impression that the priest, as representative of the Catholic faith, is blessing their union?

READ: Pope Francis publishes norms for clergy to ‘bless’ homosexual couples

The blessing, the Vatican document cautions, cannot “be performed with any clothing, gestures, or words that are proper to a wedding.” The blessing should be spontaneous, not given in the sort of ritual form befitting of a liturgical prayer. Yes, but…

Beginning yesterday, pastors will be approached by couples who want not just a spontaneous blessing but a more public celebration: in the church, in front of family and friends, with music, with everyone dressed in their finest, with a reception to follow. Bring a young child to such a service, and will that child come home with the understanding that the Church did not bless the union?

The Vatican statement leaves pastors to decide for themselves how they should respond to the couples’ requests. Yet it cautions them not to rely “on the fixed nature of certain doctrinal or disciplinary schemes.” Forgive my cynicism, but that sounds to me like an invitation to fudge the doctrinal issue, to avoid any unpleasantness that might arise about the Church’s condemnation of unnatural acts.

The Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith allows (encourages?) Catholic priests to maintain a sort of ritual purity, saying that they have not treated a homosexual union as a marriage, while in the eyes of the world they have done exactly that.

Reprinted with permission from Catholic Culture.


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