Bishop Athanasius Schneider: The Problem of Blessing Same-Sex Couples

The Document Fiducia Supplicans, issued by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith on December 18, 2023, and approved by Pope Francis, regarding the possibility of granting “simple,” “spontaneous,” “short,” and “non-liturgical” blessings to couples cohabitating in adultery or in same-sex relationships, deeply and detrimentally affects the Catholic Church as a whole, as well as local Catholic communities.

1. The true meaning of blessing.

The authorization to “bless” same-sex or adulterous unions does not express an authentically “pastoral” care, because such a “blessing” is not actually a “blessing” in the true Biblical sense. True blessing can occur only when those seeking it are ready to accept the Church’s teaching concerning that for which they seek the blessing and are willing to repent and live according to Church teaching if such is not the case. Those who have willingly turned away from God’s commandments and lead a life that is displeasing to Him, offend Him, are consciously rejecting His grace, and cannot effectively receive God’s blessing without first repenting of their sinful lifestyle.

Priestly ordination grants the priest spiritual power and authority to give blessings for morally licit purposes that are within the true meaning of “blessing” according to the perennial teaching of the Church. A priest is not authorized to grant blessings beyond that scope, as it would be an offense to God, a transgression of his powers, an abuse of his authority, and a misuse of the blessing because it is being given for purposes other than those for which the blessing is intended. For example, a priest cannot bless a philosophy professor who declares that he will deliver a lecture approving atheism, as this would be tantamount to endorsing this philosopher’s atheistic convictions. Were he to do so, the priest would be complicit in advocating atheism, which is a grave sin, and his blessing would be illicit, as it would contradict natural law and Divinely revealed truths.

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