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First Things: More Confusion About Same-Sex Blessings

Written by John Finnis, Robert P. George, ​Peter Ryan, S.J. On December 18, the Holy See’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of Faith (DDF) released Fiducia Supplicans. That Declaration stated that priests may spontaneously bless couples in “irregular” situations—e.g., “remarried” or same-sex couples—within certain limits. Those limits were supposed to protect the Church’s witness to her teachings on sexual ethics and marriage, truths knowable by reason and divine revelation. Yet many bishops and episcopal conferences have expressed concern that providing such blessings would impede that witness, undermining the Church’s teachings that (1) marriage is the indissoluble union of husband and wife and that (2) all non-marital sexual acts are gravely sinful.

In response, the DDF has issued a press release attempting to clarify Fiducia Supplicans. But the press release is grossly inadequate. Heeding it will not begin to prevent the grave harm that the DDF says it had hoped to head off. The twelve paragraphs below explain why we urge that bishops and priests should not authorize or provide the blessings at issue: The circumstances in which they will avoid doing grave harm are rare, if not practically non-existent—at least without the set of conditions we will mention. 

1. With one minor exception, discussed below, the press release only accentuates aspects of Fiducia Supplicans that make it an obstacle to handing on, defending, and living by the gospel’s teaching on sexual morality.

2. The press release insists that Fiducia Supplicans, being a Declaration, “is much more than a responsum or a letter.” But both documents neglect a centrally relevant gospel teaching that was reaffirmed in a previous Declaration of the same dicastery, Persona Humana (December 29, 1975):  ...continue reading the First Things article here.

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