In light of the Holy Father’s issuance of Fiducia Supplicans, a declaration which offers guidelines regarding pastoral blessings of those in irregular relationships including same-sex couples, Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila has issued a statement clarifying what the declaration does and does not do. The statement can be read in full below:
December 20, 2023 – On Monday, December 18, the Vatican issued a Declaration, Fiducia Supplicans, on the Pastoral Meaning of Blessings. Within this declaration, the Holy See offers guidelines regarding blessings to people who currently live in irregular situations and same-sex unions. I realize from the mail I have received that the media has caused confusion in the way it was reported. I want to provide clarity for the clergy and lay faithful of the Archdiocese of Denver.
First, we cannot trust the secular media to accurately report what was written in the document and so I encourage everyone to read it for themselves.
Second, and most importantly, the document in no way changes the Church’s teaching or practice on marriage or the sinfulness of sexual acts outside of the marital embrace of husband and wife. Rather, at every turn, it affirms what Christ, and the Church has always taught regarding marriage.
Finally, a blessing, which can always be given to anyone seeking strength and aid from God, is not intended to legitimize a sinful situation, and always has the aim of assisting one in growing to live and embrace God’s plan for life as taught through Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church. The blessing is never to be given in a liturgy, must be spontaneously asked for, and must have the intention of desiring the good that God desires for human beings. The blessing can never be seen as legitimizing sin. This type of blessing should be done with discretion, preferably privately to avoid scandal and confusion.
The article by John Bursch in the National Catholic Register does an excellent job of summarizing the main points of the declaration and cuts through the confusion in the media to bring clarity. Along with the document Fiducia Supplicans itself, I highly recommend this article as well.
May God bless you this Advent and prepare you for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas.