Communiqué of the Ukrainian Bishops’ Conference on the Declaration of the Dicastery of the Faith “FIDUCIA SUPPLICANS” on the Pastoral Significance of Blessings
The document of the Vatican’s Dicastery of the Doctrine of the Faith examines the different types of blessings that can be given by clergy outside the liturgy. The document also emphasizes that only those who want to live a life pleasing to God and ask for a blessing can be blessed liturgically. Instead, it expands the understanding of extra-liturgical blessing, which is usually given to all people, by introducing the possibility of “blessing same-sex couples.” It is this possibility that has caused a storm of reactions and misunderstandings about the moral and doctrinal issues in the Catholic Church regarding this kind of blessing.
And this is because the concept of “blessing” is perceived by many as “permission”, especially as “permission to sin”. While the entire document makes it clear that there is no “permission” or “blessing” for homosexual cohabitation or any life of sin, nor any change in the Church’s traditional teaching on marriage, the notion of blessing same-sex couples, or sacramentally unregulated couples, can be perceived as legalizing these relationships.
The document seeks to emphasize the boundless love of God for all people, sinners included, and in this regard to show that the Church does not reject these people, namely, persons with homosexual tendencies or even actions. However, it seems that the text does not clearly distinguish between a person and his or her situation, mercifully accepting this person and expressing disagreement with his or her sin. [emphasis added]
At the same time, the document focuses mainly on two categories of people: those living in sacramentally unregulated relationships (men and women) and same-sex couples. Thus, the document treats the situation of sacramentally unregulated male-female couples and same-sex couples equally. Both situations are in a state of grave sin, but they should be treated separately. [emphasis added]
We see the danger in ambiguous wording that causes divergent interpretations among the faithful. What we missed in the document is that the Gospel calls sinners to conversion, and without a call to leave the sinful life of homosexual couples, the blessing may look like an approval. However, we emphasize that the document repeatedly emphasizes that the blessing of same-sex couples is in no way a legalization of such cohabitation, and the teaching of the Catholic Church on the Sacrament of Matrimony, which is the union of a man and a woman, remains unchanged.
Conference of Roman Catholic Bishops of Ukraine