The Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF) has published the declaration Fiducia Supplicans (FS), which reflects on the theology of blessing and, for the first time, sanctions clerical blessings of same-sex couples and mixed-sex couples in irregular unions. This has sparked no little controversy, particularly since that same dicastery ruled out, with the pope’s approval, the possibility of any such blessings just two years ago. The implications of the change are complex and far-reaching. In this Catholic Answers Roundtable, we offer perspectives from Catholic Answers staff on this text and what it means. Roundtable participants include Trent Horn, Drew Belsky, Karlo Broussard, Cy Kellett, Todd Aglialoro, Joe Heschmeyer, Tom Nash, and Christopher Check.
Trent Horn, apologist
This document, in principle, is orthodox, because it speaks of sinners seeking “spontaneous” blessings in order to live better lives, which is not a problem. But something can be technically true and yet confuse people and lead to scandal if it is uttered without qualification.
It’s technically true, for instance, that “Catholics worship Mary,” but this is easily mistaken for idolatry without the qualification that worship can refer generally to a kind of honor (“worths-ship”) and that the highest form of worship is reserved to God alone. Likewise, it is technically true that a priest can bless “gay couples,” but this is easily mistaken for a commendation of sin without the express qualification that the blessing is for each individual to grow closer to God.
So, although the document may be read as orthodox in principle, we can object to its likely interpretation and effects in practice. One big concern I have is that permission for a licit spontaneous blessing to those who genuinely seek God will quickly become permission (or possibly even an obligation under some bishops) to bless relationships of people who simply want the Church to validate their sinful desires.
Frankly, a better approach would be to allow for the blessing of same-sex couples via an official blessing in the Book of Blessings that is patterned after the blessings given to those suffering from drug abuse. The priest could say something like “For N., bound by the chains of disordered sexual attraction, that we encourage and assist him/her in his/her struggle, we pray. R.”
Given the practical difficulty involved in the wide variety of ministers giving and individuals seeking these “spontaneous blessings,” I would not have released the document—or at I least I would have included the reminder from the 2021 DDF ruling, still in force, that God “does not and cannot bless sin.”
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