Cardinal Zen Calls Pope Francis’ ‘Dubia’ Response on Same-Sex Blessings ‘Pastorally Untenable’

Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun has criticized some of Pope Francis’ responses to five dubia that he and four other cardinals sent him ahead of the Synod on Synodality, saying among other criticisms that the Pope’s guidance on the blessing of same-sex unions is “pastorally untenable.”

In an Oct. 12 statement posted on his website, the bishop emeritus of Hong Kong, who signed the dubia sent to the Pope on July 11, said the Pope’s responses, which were sent a day later and which the Vatican made public on Oct. 2, “were not precise responses and did not resolve the doubts,” prompting him to issue a statement of his own “so that the faithful understand why the five of us did not find them adequate as answers.”

In Paragraph (g) of the Pope’s response to the second dubium, which asked whether same-sex blessings could ever be allowed “without betraying revealed doctrine,” Francis said, “canon law should not and cannot cover everything” and that “practical discernment” would be necessary “in particular circumstances.”

Such a response, Cardinal Zen said in his statement, was “pastorally untenable,” adding, “How can the Church, in such an important matter, leave the people without a clear rule and trust individual discernment? Isn’t this how a chaos of casuistry very dangerous for souls will break out?”

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