Has Pope(Francis) approved same sex union?

By Fr. Henry Charles Umelechi

“Why the tumult among the nations, why the impotent murmurings among the peoples?”

After spending a quality pastoral time with about 1000+ children of my parish who gathered together to do 2023 Christmas party, and having gone down to present the “Champions League” trophy and awards😀 to the football champions and second runner up, to the Iwene Tansi League members (Catholics and non-catholics). I was burnt up and thus “I lie down and sleep comes at once” (Psalm 4:8).

However, I was awoken by the buzzing of phone messages and concomitant questions that kept coming in, in the early hours of Tuesday 19th December, concerning the release of the document “Fiducia Supplicans”, meaning Supplicating Trust, by the Discatery for doctrine of the faith, approved by Pope Francis. It’s about what it means to ask for something in a trusting way.

The declaration says that priests may bless same-sex persons that come to them asking for a blessing. “O my God, the media shall cash out again through deceptive headlines like “Pope Francis approves same sex union at last, etc, thus I pitied the fibble in faith.

After going through the 42 paragraphed document, I set forth the ever flowing ink to address all people of goodwill and bad will too. And so I ask again:

Why the tumult among the nations, why the impotent murmurings among the peoples?(Psalm 2:1)

Yes, the Pope has said through the Discatery that priests may bless same-sex persons that come to them asking for a blessing. But, what does a blessing mean in Catholic Church?

In the Catholic Church there are: a) Constitutive Blessings b). Invocative Blessings.

A. Constitutive Blessings : This permanently brings about the dedication of a person(s) or an object in the service of the church for example, the bishop, or an altar, by imparting to them some sacred character, by which they assume a new and distinct spiritual relationship.

B. Invocative Blessings: This asks God to help those who are in need or who use blessed objects for example, the blessing for the sick, or the blessing of a ship, blessings given to children, and to articles of food, for those in substance abuse, etc.

If blessings could be conferred on food, and on those in substance abuse, even to condemned criminals who killed others, why not to those in (suffering) from same sex union. Yes, everyone who lives in sin suffers because those who ask for a blessing show themselves “to be in need of God’s saving presence” in their lives by expressing “a petition for God’s assistance, a plea to live better” (par. 21). Blessing of people in same sex union is under the invocative blessing; they are in need of repentance, and other graces like others.

When those in same sex union ask for a blessing, for the fact that the Declaration in Fiducia Suplicans presents the blessing in the Sacrament of Marriage (paragraphs 4-6) stating as inadmissible “rites and prayers that could create confusion between what constitutes marriage” and “what contradicts it,” shows the church’s stand on the approval of same sex union. It’s a no, nunquam.

Whoever asks for blessings shows the acceptance of his or her limitations and the acknowledgement of God.

Nevertheless, those who live in irregular union like concubinage(couples not sacramentally married) and same sex, are both living in sin. If we don’t have problem with impacting blessings when asked by those living in concubinage, why deny it to those in same sex union?

For example, if person in same sex union asks a priest to bless a sick partner, the priest could do so. So, both could receive blessings as children of God (invocative), but not for approval of their union (Constitutive). Sinners are not converted by closing doors upon them but by living the doors opened so that whenever, they could enter to embrace repentance.

The document therefore shows the always pastoral charity, that is the church’s nature as a mother who is ready to help the repentance of her children by not casting them away even in their sins, but by invoking grace (blessing) upon them, to conform to God’s will.

Therefore, the declaration is not an approval but an invitation to repentance and closeness to God. It is a matter of emphasis  and so which demanded to be said differently and done differently.

It is a way of doing what some of us cannot courageously preach with words to sinners—repentance.

Before I discontinue, I must admit that the tumult in the Church and outside the church is more of the ignorance of God, and of the church’s teaching, hardness of heart and bad will.

In the Church, there’s nothing new but there’s something new from her, which is the approach. So, we are shaken by our own ignorance and by our hardness of heart which makes it difficult to find and accept right approach towards sinners without quitting to preach repentance.

May I end with this personal phrase of mine that I acquired after studying the church history:

“In ecclesia, nihil novi ; Ex Ecclesia semper aliquid novi.”

In the Church, there is nothing new; Out of the Church there is always something new.

Fr. Henry Charles Umelechi is s a Catholic priest of the Catholic Archdiocese of Onitsha, Nigeria.

©Truth Series

Also read: River of Sex: Sex in marriage comes differently to women and differently to men.

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