A Vatican Document That Undermines Itself

True, today’s declaration from the Vatican does not change Church teaching. Fiducia Supplicans earnestly insists on a distinction between giving a blessing to a homosexual couple and blessing their relationship. Good luck conveying that distinction to the world.

Anyone can ask a priest for a blessing; that has never been in question. But when two people ask a priest to confer a blessing on them as a couple, how can the Church avoid the impression that the priest, as representative of the Catholic faith, is blessing their union?

The blessing, the Vatican document cautions, cannot “be performed with any clothing, gestures, or words that are proper to a wedding.” The blessing should be spontaneous, not given in the sort of ritual form befitting of a liturgical prayer. Yes, but…

Beginning today, pastors will be approached by couples who want not just a spontaneous blessing but a more public celebration: in the church, in front of family and friends, with music, with everyone dressed in their finest, with a reception to follow. Bring a young child to such a service, and will that child come home with the understanding that the Church did not bless the union?

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