Cancelled Bishop Daniel Fernandez Condemns Fiducia Supplicans: “It Contradicts Catholic Doctrine”

As two years have passed since my removal as bishop of Arecibo, remaining in my perplexity at such an action, I wish to express from my heart to all my fellow diocesans that I miss you. How can I not feel nostalgic for my beloved diocese of Arecibo! “Great waters cannot quench love, nor rivers overwhelm it” (Song 8:7).

A unique relationship is established between the bishop and his diocese, like a spousal relationship. By divine right the bishop is the proper pastor of that church particular that has been entrusted to him. The shepherd cannot be understood without his flock. Therefore, if against all rights, this is taken from him, The shepherd will remain in the anguish of love that the Book of the Song of Songs describes: “Tell me, love of my soul, where you feed the flock, where you take it to rest at noon, so that I may not wander as a wanderer after the flocks of your companions” (Ct 1, 7).

Precisely from the consideration of the love of Him who “loved us to the end” it would be convenient to reread the stories of the Passion this Lent and pay attention to the Lord’s way of acting. We have a lot to learn from Him to know how to react in the difficult moments, when to speak and what to say. Let us try to ask God every day in prayer for what Pope Francis said in a homily in 2018 commenting on the gospel of Luke 4:16-30: “the grace of discerning when we should speak and when we should be silent.” And in that same in a homily referring to how Jesus was silent during his Passion on Good Friday, the Pope said: “The silence that conquers, but through the Cross. The silence of Jesus. (…) Say what needs to be said and then remain silent.

Because the truth is meek, the truth is silent, the truth is not loud.” From that discernment, and assisted by that divine grace, we look at the current situation of our Church and, without fear of being wrong, we can affirm that it is going through very difficult times. A painful example of this has been the Declaration of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith on the pastoral meaning of blessings, where the issue of blessings for “couples” in irregular situations and for same-sex “couples” is addressed. How to react before that? How to consider it in light of the Lord’s behavior during his Passion? What to say and what to do?

With deep sadness and immense pain I know of the scandal and great suffering that many brothers are going through. The Fiducia Supplians Declaration, including the Note to help clarify its reception, contributes to the situation of doubt, ambiguity and confusion in the Church. It is contradictory, not only with the perennial pastoral practice of the Church, but it is also contradictory in attempting to maintain that these “couples” can be blessed without at the same time blessing that which precisely constitutes them as a “couple”, which is their union or relationship.

Two years ago the then Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith clearly explained that sin cannot be blessed. In Lent We remember that Jesus gave his life on the Cross to conquer sin, not to bless it, to save the sinner with his mercy and seek his conversion. Although one tries to interpret it differently by juggling arguments, the recent Declaration does not refer to individual people but to “couples” in a situation of sin. In this way, it seeks to allow “pastoral” action that contradicts Catholic doctrine.

Given this, we bishops are the first to examine our conscience. The Church is “apostolic,” so all successors of the apostles, in communion with the Pope, as visible head, we are obliged to care for the universal Church promoting and defending the unity of faith and common discipline. (cf. LG 22-23) and one day we will have to give an account to God. The apostle Paul serves as an example when he fraternally corrects the apostle Peter (Gal 2, 11-14). For this reason, bishops, cardinals, former prefects of Congregations and episcopal conferences from various parts of the world have legitimately expressed their concern with this Declaration and, in a spirit of fraternal correction, have criticized it or requested that it be revoked, or have decreed that it not be implemented in their respective ecclesiastical jurisdictions. It is what those of us who belong to the Episcopal College must do.

It is up to all of us to ensure the unity of the Church, whose morality is universal and cannot depend on where one lives. If we do not, “the stones will cry out” (Lk 19:49) and we could become deserving of the harsh words addressed by God to the priests in the book of Malachi: “I will send the curse on them and I will also curse their blessings. …you have gone astray, says the Lord of hosts, and have caused many to stumble because of your doctrine” (cf. Ml 2, 1-9).

Furthermore, we must remember the importance of expressing communion with the Petrine ministry by praying for the Holy Father so that he may always speak and act moved by the Holy Spirit. We know what happened to the apostle Peter, who received praise from Jesus because he had spoken by divine inspiration (Mt 16, 17), but was then rebuked by the Lord because at that moment he spoke like men (Mt 16, 23). . We take comfort in knowing that Jesus himself assured him of his help when he said to him: “Simon, Simon! Look, Satan has requested the power to shake them like wheat; But I have prayed for you, so that your faith may not fail. And you, when you have returned, confirm your brothers” (Luke 22, 31-32).

Therefore, I wish to end this Lenten reflection by exhorting with all my heart: let us act moved by love for the Church and love for the Pope, putting caritas in veritate into practice. Let us offer our prayers and fasting for the Successor of Peter so that, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, being docile to the Holy Spirit, he may always fulfill his mission of confirming us in the faith, especially in these times of darkness.

+Daniel Fernandez Torres
“There is no fear in love”

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