Understanding Fiducia Supplicans
So we now have a new document from the Vatican in which same-sex union blessings is the central theme. The headlines are emotional and they are made in order to elicit an extreme emotional response. And, truth be told, when I read the headline about the Vatican or the pope making it official that blessings of same sex unions are now allowed it was very upsetting to me, like many Catholics my emotions rose significantly and my mind began telling me to look for an SSPX chapel, or even start going to the mass of my good friend who is a sedevacantist priest, and there were varied other feelings and emotions flowing through me. that was my emotional response, and it lasted for a few seconds. But I didn’t even read the article. I started to search for the actual document that the article was talking about. So, although my mind was initially exhibiting an extreme emotional response, my reason won out and I found and read the document which is called “Fiducia Supplicans”.
With this new document has come a volcano of controversy. Do we now bless gay unions? Has the Church baptized same sex relationships as a legitimate expression of sexuality now? Surely, the Pope was castigating the Cardinals who wrote the dubia, or official questions of clarification to Pope Francis over same sex unions, no?
Right out the door it mentions the dubia of some cardinals concerning this question, so can we assume that this is somewhat aimed at or against these cardinals? Let us review the dubium, or question, covering this theme from the cardinals along with the reformulated dubia when these cardinals deemed Pope Francis’ answer inadequate.
Original dubium from the cardinals August 21, 2023:
“2 Dubium about the claim that the widespread practice of the blessing of same-sex unions would be in accord with Revelation and the Magisterium (CCC 2357).
According to Divine Revelation, confirmed in Sacred Scripture, which the Church «at the divine command with the help of the Holy Spirit, … listens to devotedly, guards it with dedication and expounds it faithfully » (Dei Verbum 10): «In the beginning» God created man in his own image, male and female he created them and blessed them, that they might be fruitful (cf. Gen. 1, 27-28), whereby the Apostle Paul teaches that to deny sexual difference is the consequence of the denial of the Creator (Rom 1, 24-32). It is asked: Can the Church derogate from this «principle,» considering it, contrary to what Veritatis Splendor 103 taught, as a mere ideal, and accepting as a «possible good» objectively sinful such as same-sex unions, without betraying revealed doctrine?”
And their reformulated dubia October 2, 2023:
“2. Your Holiness has insisted on the fact that there can be no confusion between marriage and other types of unions of a sexual nature and that, therefore, any rite or sacramental blessing of same-sex couples, which would give rise to such confusion, should be avoided. Our concern, however, is a different one: we are concerned that the blessing of same-sex couples might create confusion in any case, not only in that it might make them seem analogous to marriage, but also in that homosexual acts would be presented practically as a good, or at least as the possible good that God asks of people in their journey toward Him. So let us rephrase our dubium: Is it possible that in some circumstances a pastor could bless unions between homosexual persons, thus suggesting that homosexual behavior as such would not be contrary to God’s law and the person’s journey toward God? Linked to this dubium is the need to raise another: does the teaching upheld by the universal ordinary magisterium, that every sexual act outside of marriage, and in particular homosexual acts, constitutes an objectively grave sin against God’s law, regardless of the circumstances in which it takes place and the intention with which it is carried out, continue to be valid?”
Or, rather, is Pope Francis looking more attentively at the German Synodal Assembly’s motion in the March 9-11, 2023 Presentation of the Synodal Forum IV and the German bishops opening of liturgical blessings of same sex unions which is in line with the bishops and priests already blessing same sex unions? Let us take some highlights from the motion passed by the German Synodal Assembly:
““Blessing ceremonies for couples who love each other”
The Synodal Assembly calls on the bishops to officially allow blessing ceremonies in their dioceses for couples who love each other but to whom sacramental marriage is not accessible or who do not see themselves at a point of entering into a sacramental marriage. This also applies to same-sex couples on the basis of a re-evaluation of homosexuality as a norm variant of human sexuality. These are couples who have bound themselves, for example, through a civil marriage. The blessing ceremony differs from the liturgy of a sacramental marriage.
– The German dioceses will establish such blessing ceremony as a diocesan liturgy.
– The German dioceses present a blessing form for this purpose. They can draw on the preparatory work of various dioceses, the Working Group for Catholic Family Education (AKF), the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK) and relevant practical experience.
The Synod Assembly proposes that a manual for such blessing celebrations be prepared and later included in the benedictional to be revised. This mandate will be implemented in consultation with the German Liturgical Institute.
– The manual includes suggested forms for blessing ceremonies in the context of services of the word or the Eucharist, as well as a pastoral-theological introduction and pastoral- practical advice. The suggestions address the various couple situations (such as remarried divorcees, same-sex couples, couples after civil marriage).”
Fiducia Supplicans may be dealing with the cardinals’ dubia in passing, but as we examen the document, I believe we see Pope Francis’ answer to the audacious actions of the Catholic Church in Germany and to the German Synodal Assemblies passed motion. From paragraphs 31, and 38-40 of Fiducia Supplicans:
“31. Within the horizon outlined here appears the possibility of blessings for couples in irregular situations and for couples of the same sex, the form of which should not be fixed ritually by ecclesial authorities to avoid producing confusion with the blessing proper to the Sacrament of Marriage. In such cases, a blessing may be imparted that not only has an ascending value but also involves the invocation of a blessing that descends from God upon those who—recognizing themselves to be destitute and in need of his help—do not claim a legitimation of their own status, but who beg that all that is true, good, and humanly valid in their lives and their relationships be enriched, healed, and elevated by the presence of the Holy Spirit.”
“38. For this reason, one should neither provide for nor promote a ritual for the blessings of couples in an irregular situation. At the same time, one should not prevent or prohibit the Church’s closeness to people in every situation in which they might seek God’s help through a simple blessing. In a brief prayer preceding this spontaneous blessing, the ordained minister could ask that the individuals have peace, health, a spirit of patience, dialogue, and mutual assistance—but also God’s light and strength to be able to fulfill his will completely.
- In any case, precisely to avoid any form of confusion or scandal, when the prayer of blessing is requested by a couple in an irregular situation, even though it is expressed outside the rites prescribed by the liturgical books, this blessing should never be imparted in concurrence with the ceremonies of a civil union, and not even in connection with them. Nor can it be performed with any clothing, gestures, or words that are proper to a wedding. The same applies when the blessing is requested by a same-sex couple.
- Such a blessing may instead find its place in other contexts, such as a visit to a shrine, a meeting with a priest, a prayer recited in a group, or during a pilgrimage. Indeed, through these blessings that are given not through the ritual forms proper to the liturgy but as an expression of the Church’s maternal heart—similar to those that emanate from the core of popular piety—there is no intention to legitimize anything, but rather to open one’s life to God, to ask for his help to live better, and also to invoke the Holy Spirit so that the values of the Gospel may be lived with greater faithfulness.”
After looking at some of the happenings in the Church surrounding same sex unions, and their corresponding documents the fog begins to lift, and we can see more clearly the obstacles which the Holy Father is contending with.
The Pope is not saying what the media says he is saying. The Pope is not saying what the traditionalists or the progressives are claiming he is saying. What the pope is doing is upholding the Churches teachings on sexuality. He is being very clear that it is an immoral lifestyle. Do not be fooled by agendas and ideologies that wish to undermine the True Faith.
Paragraph 31 does seem to carry some ambiguity, but in context of the whole document the ambiguity melts away. The message of the document boils down to the fact that any sinner living in sin that wishes for a blessing to attain those actual graces that may help them to become right with God. This is the type of blessings that persons in same sex relationships may get a blessing… a blessing as people, not as a same sex couple.
It is unfortunate that social media and the main stream media take documents like this and use it to spread their own agendas, and that disobedient bishops and priests also use it for their agendas.
Even worse is when those of us who should be more levelheaded over these things start spreading news articles and shocked posts, sometimes even “condemning” the Pope, inadvertently spreading the false narrative.
Therefore, it is us, the “good Catholics” that are supposed to be thinking straight that are helping to forward the progressive and/or traditionalist agenda inside of the Church, or the secular anti-Catholic agendas outside the Church.
In this we are working against the Church, we are working against ourselves, and in the end we are working against God.
We must be sober minded, and vet the information which we are being fed by the mainstream media, as well as the Catholic media that hold to progressive or traditionalist ideologies (and not depend on ones we trust especially when we can go directly to the source).
After becoming honestly informed, then we should utilize social media, comment boxes, social media replies and face to face conversations to forward the Truth, defend the Faith, and evangelize the world. Go forth, you are sent.
1- Fiducia Supplicans: https://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_ddf_doc_20231218_fiducia-supplicans_en.html
2- Dubia from two cardinals: https://www.cardinalburke.com/images/backgroundimages/Dubia-2023luglio10-ENGLISH.pdf
3- Reformulated Dubia: https://www.cardinalburke.com/images/backgroundimages/Response-to-Pope-Francis-with-reformulated-Dubia-ENGLISH-21August2023.pdf
4-Pope Francis’ reply to original dubia from two cardinals: https://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_risposta-dubia-2023_en.html
5- Presentation of the Synodal Forum IV: “Life in succeeding relationships – Living love in sexuality and partnership”: https://www.synodalerweg.de/fileadmin/Synodalerweg/Dokumente_Reden_Beitraege/englisch-SV-IV/ENGL_SV-IV-Synodalforum-IV-Handlungstext.GrundordnungDesKirchlichenAmtes_Second-reading.pdf