Bishop of Togo Direct Priests to Refrain from Performing Same-Sex Blessings

CLARIFICATION OF THE CONFERENCE OF BISHOPS OF TOGO
FOLLOWING THE PUBLICATION OF THE
DECLARATION FIDUCIA SUPPLICANS
ON THE PASTORAL MEANING OF BLESSINGS

The Bishops of Togo have followed closely the questions, concerns and controversy caused by the publication of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith of the Declaration Fiducia Supplicans on the Pastoral Meaning of Blessings, and we issue this clarification as well as the following reminders:

  1. The Declaration is far from an approval or a sacramental validation of the union of persons of the same sex. Nor does it call into question the Church’s teaching on marriage. In fact, among the numerous questions submitted to the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith was this one: Can or cannot God’s ministers give blessings to everyone, whatever their condition? The reply to this fundamental question inspired the title that was given to the document “Declaration on the Pastoral Meaning of Blessings.” Of course, the Church has always given ordinary non-liturgical blessings to whoever asks for them. Nevertheless, one must be sure that these blessings are not interpreted as “a liturgical or semi-liturgical act, resembling a sacrament” (Fiducia Supplicans, No. 36).
  2. This declaration does not modify the teaching of the Bible and the Church on marriage, which is defined by the Second Vatican Council and recognized as a “matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman unite to form a lifelong community ordered by its natural character to the good of the spouses and to the procreation and education of children” (GS 48; CCC 1601; CIC, can. 1055, 1).
  3. According to the Bible and the teaching of the Church, homosexuality, which refers to relations between two men or two women who experience sexual attraction exclusively or predominantly towards persons of the same sex, is presented as a grave depravation, intrinsically disordered (Gen 19:1-29; Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6,10; 1 Tim 1:10; CDF Declaration Persona Humana, 8). Because it is contrary to the natural law and closes the sexual act to the gift of life, under no circumstances can it be approved. (CCC 2357).
  4. Nevertheless, the Church calls for persons engaging in same-sex relations to be treated with respect, compassion and delicacy. Such persons are called to carry out God’s will in their life and, if they are Christians, to unite with the Lord’s cross the difficulties that they encounter due to their condition (CCC 2358).
  5. In his reply to the Dubia of Two Cardinals on July 11, 2023, Pope Francis writes: “Rites and prayers are inadmissible which could cause confusion between that which constitutes marriage, namely ‘an exclusive, stable and indissoluble union between a man and a woman, naturally open to the procreation of children’ and that which contradicts it.” For this reason, as regards the blessing of homosexual couples, the bishops of Togo direct priests to refrain from doing this.

The bishops wish a joyful Christmas and a happy New Year to all.

May Christ who is the blessing of the Father bestow on each one the grace needed for the good of all.

Lomé, December 20, 2023

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