Fiducia Supplicans & Bank Robbery: Cognitive Dissonance in the Life of the Church

Imagine you witness a man walk into a bank, point a gun at the teller, and say “I have no intention of legitimizing bank-robbing, but would you please give me $10,000 in the next five minutes?”

Horrified, you run to the nearest police station and relate what you saw, but to your shock the policeman looks at you with scorn: “Are you crazy? That poor fellow explicitly said he had no intention of bank robbing. He was simply asking for money. I hope the teller wasn’t so unkind as to refuse him.”

Dumbfounded, you stammer: “But, officer, bank robbing is against the law! How can you legitimize this?”

Now visibly angry, the officer stands up and begins to shout: “I’m not legitimizing anything! Of course bank robbery is wrong, but people ask for money all the time, even if they sometimes do it in a less-than-ideal way. Plus, that fellow even said ‘please’ and gave the teller plenty of time–clearly, he’s on the road to a deeper conversion. Now get out, before I lock you up for disrespecting my authority!”

Such is the level of cognitive dissonance in the recent Vatican document Fiducia Supplicans (and this week’s supposed “clarification”), which asserts “the possibility of blessing couples in irregular situations and same-sex couples without officially validating their status or changing in any way the Church’s perennial teaching on marriage.” Like the witness to the bank robber “asking for money” in the thought experiment above, Catholics should not only be horrified at the idea of God’s blessing being invoked upon an objectively sinful relationship, but positively insulted that anyone would expect them to believe that “blessings” of such couples are not indeed precisely “validating their status” — no matter how much gaslighting and mental gymnastics by Cardinal Victor Manuel Fernandez to the contrary.

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