Fiducia Supplicans: Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Two developments—both entirely foreseeable, one so easily avoidable as to be in essence an unforced error—are making the already improbable management of the Fiducia supplicans fiasco almost entirely impossible.

The first is the reported influx of requests for papal blessings on parchment sheets for same-sex couples. Italy’s Il Messaggero newspaper had the story over the weekend.

On paper, it oughtn’t be too difficult to turn them down. Fiducia supplicans, after all, countenances clerics granting unscripted blessings to different sorts of couples who “spontaneously” ask for them in various pastoral situations.

In order to obtain one of the parchments, one must provide the names of the persons or the family to receive the blessing and the reason or occasion for which it is being sought. Folks may request these blessings for marriages, ordinations, wedding anniversaries, ordination anniversaries and jubilees, religious professions and their various anniversaries and jubilees, baptisms, confirmations.

Strictly speaking, the blessings—and the parchments that attest them—are for milestone occasions in the life of a person or a couple. Birthdays are countenanced as a reason for requesting a papal blessing, too. The office of the papal almoner handles the business, and they’re pretty careful, with good reason. You’ll find (probably fake) papal blessing parchments hanging in small Roman businesses and even offices from time to time.

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