No, we are not on Candid Camera; nor are we facing the operation of a prankster hacker. Yet, this is the impression gained from reading yesterday’s surreal press release which bears the signature of Cardinal Victor M. Fernández and Msgr. Armando Matteo, Prefect and secretary of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith; this time without any ex audientia on the part of the Pope. The communiqué circulated with the hypothetical objective of “helping to clarify the reception of Fiducia supplicans” instead achieves the certain consequence of confusing the faithful even more, further humiliating the Catholic Church and totally ridiculing the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith.
One has to sit down, take deep breaths and have ammonium carbonate on hand, before reading it, in case one feels faint. Faced with the uprising of numerous bishops’ conferences on the peripheries of the Church, to which it would be ridiculous to address the convenient accusation of not being pastoral, Tucho attempts to backtrack, while at the same time trying not to displease those bishops, clearly concentrated in the German-speaking area, who in turn are far from willing to obey a ‘countermand, comrades’!
Tucho resembles those learner drivers (sometimes not quite ‘learners’) who want to park a car that is too long in a space that is too small, and who, engaged in continuous manoeuvres, eventually manage to crash both in front and behind!
And in fact, faced with the African bishops, who do not want to hear about the unions of irregular or homosexual couples, and faced with the Germans, who instead want to bless exactly those couples, Fernández manages to write in black on white a masterpiece of contradiction. In section 2 (Practical reception), he writes (bold ours): “The Declaration contains a proposal for short and simple pastoral blessings (neither liturgical nor ritualised) of couples in irregular situations (but not of their unions)”. In section 4 (The real novelty of the document) he states exactly the opposite: “The real novelty of this Declaration, the one that requires a generous effort of reception and from which no one should declare themselves excluded, is not the possibility of blessing couples in irregular situations”. So, the proposal is to bless irregular couples, but the novelty of the document is not to bless irregular couples. Does it make sense? Not at all!
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