January 15, 2024 Column Father De Celles

Fiducia Supplicans. A lot of people are confused, upset and angry
about the new Vatican document, Fiducia Supplicans, about priests
giving blessings to same-sex couples. For the record, I believe that
the document, in both its theology and its conclusions, is
profoundly flawed and therefore not at all binding. Therefore I
cannot follow it. With this I follow the lead of many
distinguished prelates and Bishop’s Conferences. Consider the
Archbishop Charles Chaput, the Archbishop Emeritus
of Philadelphia:
…“God is not the author of confusion but of peace” (1
Cor. 14:33). So it was for Paul. So it is now…Deliberate or
persistent ambiguity…is not of God….
…Fiducia Supplicans …is a doubleminded exercise in
simultaneously affirming and undercutting Catholic teaching on
the nature of blessings and their application to “irregular”
relationships. …
…First, a key role of the pope is to unify the Church, not
divide her, especially on matters of faith and morals….Second, an
essential task of a loving pastor is to correct as well as
accompany.…Pope Francis often seems to separate these roles
while Jesus [said]…“Your sins are forgiven” but also “Go and sin
no more.”
…Finally, while the document does not in fact change
Church teaching on marriage, it does seem to change Church
teaching on the sinfulness of same-sex activity.… and this is a
crucial distinction….
…Over the past decade ambiguity on certain matters of
Catholic doctrine and practice has become a pattern for the
current pontificate…
Saying these things, of course, will invite claims of
“disloyalty.” But the real disloyalty is not speaking the truth with
Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect Emeritus of the
Congregation for Divine Worship:
…Precisely, confusion, lack of clarity and truth and
division have troubled and darkened the Christmas celebration
this year. Some media claim that the Catholic Church encourages
the blessing of same-sex unions. They lie. They do the work of the
divider. Some bishops go in the same direction… A recent
statement from the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith,
published with the approval of Pope Francis, failed to correct
these errors… Moreover, through its lack of clarity, it has only
amplified the confusion…and some have even seized on it to
support their attempt at manipulation.
What can we do in the face of the confusion that the
divider has sown within the Church? : “We don’t argue with the
devil!” -said Pope Francis. … Let us not enter into discussion with
the Declaration “Fiducia supplicans”…Let us simply respond with
the Word of God and with the Magisterium and the traditional
teaching of the Church.
…The Declaration “Fiducia supplicans” writes that the
blessing is …intended for people who “ask that all that is true,
good and humanly valuable in their lives and in their relationships
be invested, healed and elevated by the presence of the Spirit
Holy” (n. 31). But what is good, true and humanly valid in a
homosexual relationship, defined by the Holy Scriptures and
Tradition as a serious and “intrinsically disordered” depravity?
…As Benedict XVI recalled, “as human beings,
homosexual people deserve respect (…)….But that doesn’t mean
homosexuality is right. It remains something that is radically
opposed to the very essence of what God originally wanted.”
…I must thank the Episcopal Conferences …in particular
those of Cameroon, Chad, Nigeria, etc., whose decisions and firm

opposition to the Declaration “Fiducia supplicans” I share and
endorse.…In doing so, we do not oppose Pope Francis, but we
firmly and radically oppose a heresy which seriously undermines
the Church….
…So, let me not fall into vain quibbles about the meaning
of the word blessing. …The prayer of the Church is not refused to
anyone. But it can never be misused to become a legitimization of
sin, of the structure of sin, or even of the imminent occasion of
…It is up to us as bishops, as priests, as baptized persons
to bear witness in our turn to the truth. If we do not dare to be
faithful to God’s word, we not only betray Him, but we also betray
those to whom we speak.
Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Prefect Emeritus of
the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (now the DDF):
With the Declaration Fiducia supplicans (FS) the
Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF) has made an
affirmation that has no precedent in the teaching of the Catholic
Church. In fact, this document affirms that it is possible for a
priest to bless (not liturgically, but privately)….same-sex
couples….In point of fact …less than three years ago, and it
categorically rejected the possibility of blessing these unions….[It]
proposes …to broaden the concept of a blessing…
The reason is that blessings contemplated by the Roman
Ritual are only possible over “things, places, or circumstances that
do not contradict the law or the spirit of the Gospel” (FS 10,
quoting the Roman Ritual). And this is the point that the DDF wants
to overcome, since it wants to bless couples in …same-sex
relationships, that contradict the law and the spirit of the Gospel.
…. The new blessings …would be pastoral blessings, not liturgical
or ritual blessings…no longer have the limitation of “ritual” …
blessings. They could be applied not only to persons in sin…but
also to things, places, or circumstances that are contrary to the
…The Roman Ritual [already]…allows a priest to bless
someone who lives in sin. …The innovative “pastoral”
blessing….goes beyond [this]….because one could give such a
blessing to a reality that is contrary to God’s law…. In fact,
according to the criterion of this type of blessings, one could even
bless an abortion clinic or a mafia group.
….Notice that not only sinful persons are blessed here, but
that by blessing the couple, it is the sinful relationship itself that is
blessed. Now, God cannot send his grace upon a relationship that
is directly opposed to him …Therefore, …its only effect would be to
confuse the people… Cardinal Fernandez…said that it is not the
union that is blessed, but the couple. However, this is emptying a
word of its meaning, since what defines a couple as couple is
precisely their being a union….
…It is also said that… asking for a blessing already
constitute[s] an opening to God and to conversion. …[B]ut …those
who ask for a blessing as a couple…implicitly or explicitly seek to
justify their relationship itself before God…Finally, it is claimed
that there are positive elements in the relationship and that these
can be blessed, but these…are secondary to the relationship itself—
whose defining characteristic is the sharing of sexual activity…
…In light of this, can a faithful Catholic accept the
teaching of FS? Given the unity of deeds and words in the Christian
faith, one can only accept [this]… if one believes that such unions
are not objectively contrary to the law of God….The teaching of FS
is therefore self-contradictory and thus requires further
…. [A] priest who blesses these unions …commits a
sacrilegious and blasphemous act … The diocesan bishop is
concerned as well…he is obliged to prevent these sacrilegious
Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles