(FamilyConservationPAC.com) – The head of the Vatican’s doctrinal office has dug in his heels in the face of growing opposition to his controversial decision to allow the blessing of gay couples.
Pope Francis’s close friend and newly appointed head of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF), Cardinal Víctor Manuel “Tucho” Fernández of Argentina, stated on Thursday that the new document modifies the definition of blessings rather than altering the Church’s long-standing doctrine on homosexuality.
The LGBT lobby enthusiastically greeted the Vatican’s Fiducia Supplicans proclamation, hailing the new doctrine as a “huge step forward” and “an early Christmas gift” for LGBT Catholics.
Before being unexpectedly promoted to his current position at the Vatican, Cardinal Fernández was regarded as a lowly theologian in church circles. He has since come under fire for the disorganized, meandering prose that appeared to be meant as an explanation for baptizing homosexual couples.
The announcement overturned a 2021 paper from the same Vatican institution that said that because God “does not and cannot bless sin,” the Church is not able to bless gay couples.
Many bishops have disapproved of the change since the text’s publication. Many bishops’ conferences have declined implementing the new teaching in their areas.
Weeks after Pope Francis allowed the blessing of same-sex couples, the Vatican issued a clarification designed to soothe critics on the declaration while also showing that this is the way forward. https://t.co/dcd6Dyewjj
— The New York Times (@nytimes) January 4, 2024
In a statement released on Thursday, Cardinal Fernández cautioned that bishops should refrain from engaging in “a total or definitive denial of this path that is proposed to priests,” adding that what these Episcopal Conferences are expressing “cannot be interpreted as doctrinal opposition.”
Fernández maintains that “the real novelty of this Declaration is not the possibility of blessing couples in irregular situations.” As some theologians have noted, it is an invitation to discern between two types of blessings: “liturgical or ritualized” and “spontaneous or pastoral.” However, this distinction isn’t really that significant.
German Cardinal Gerhard Müller, who formerly held the same office as Cardinal Fernández, provided one of the most intelligent and comprehensive criticisms of the Vatican statement.
Müller noted that Fiducia Supplicans’ findings are “not a development but a doctrinal leap,” as no biblical passages or earlier magisterial publications have supported them.
“She cannot change their meaning in such a way as to trivialize sin, especially in an ideologically charged cultural situation that also misleads the faithful,” Müller said, adding that the Church can introduce new sacraments to those that already exist.
He said, “It appears that the creative pastoral blessing was developed on the fly to bless circumstances that are against the law or the spirit of the gospel.”
He observed that no priest could lawfully make: “Notice that not only sinful persons are blessed here, but that by blessing the couple, it is the sinful relationship itself that is blessed.”
“Therefore, the only effect this blessing could have if it were given is to confuse those who attend or receive it,” he said. “They would believe that there is something that God cannot bless.”
Furthermore, he emphasized that endorsing a reality against creation “is not only impossible, it is blasphemy.”
“There is no room to distance ourselves doctrinally from this Declaration or to consider it heretical, contrary to the Tradition of the Church or blasphemous,” Cardinal Fernández responded on Thursday.
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