Rorate Caeli

SSPX on Declaration allowing “Blessings” of Same-Sex “Couples”: A Scandal and Perjury Legitimizing Sin

Rome: The DDF Authorizes the Blessing of Same-Sex or Unmarried Couples

On Monday, December 18, 2023, the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF) published a Declaration signed the same day by Pope Francis, authorizing, for reasons of pastoral charity, the blessing of couples “in irregular situations”—in other words, unmarried or divorced and remarried couples, as well as same-sex couples.

In this rather long text, the DDF justifies this decision by relying on the teaching of Francis, and in particular on the response he gave to the dubia of the five cardinals—strangely brought up twice in the text—justifying its action as that of “an instrument at the service of the successor of Peter.”

For that matter, Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, “Tucho,” recognized in his prose an “innovative” character, which could be translated as “non-traditional.” He even thinks to give a new “pastoral” signification of blessings, “permitting a broadening and enrichment of the classical understanding of blessings, which is closely linked to a liturgical perspective,” which shows above all his ignorance.

A Scandalous Text

It is important to point out the scandalous nature of this text, which, despite the semantic squirming, appears to counter the preceding decision of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. That decision, dating from February 22, 2021, denied the possibility of such a blessing, with an explanation that did not leave loopholes. It was a decision which had been approved by Francis, incidentally.

The scandal lies in the fact that, even if the DDF is careful to avoid any resemblance to marriage, the result produced on the faithful, in the newspapers and to those who are not Catholics, is one of affirmation: “The Church authorizes the blessing of same-sex couples,” without any other distinctions that the dicastery attempts to set down.

Yet, it is impossible that the Curia did not anticipate this result: the DDF is therefore entirely responsible for the scandal, which according to its definition consists in an occasion to fall, that is, to sin. It is absolutely evident that in the thinking of a number of people, part of the faithful or not, this announcement is one manner of saying that the Church accepts—with nothing to add—these situations.

An Ineffective Distinction

The argument that leads to the conclusion is the distinction between liturgical blessing and non-liturgical blessing. If the first is excluded, the second is accepted under the conditions enumerated in paragraph no. 39: “this blessing should never be imparted in concurrence with the ceremonies of a civil union, and not even in connection with them. Nor can it be performed with any clothing, gestures, or words that are proper to a wedding.”

But the problem is not in the distinction itself; it is in the very object of the blessing which, whether it is liturgical or not, should not be bad or immoral. If a woman wanting an abortion asks a priest to bless her so that all goes well, must he grant her a blessing? According to the terms of the Declaration, it seems that the response could be: “yes.” Every sensible person understands that the blessing cannot be granted to this woman except for the goal of helping her avoid committing this crime.

It is true that the priest can bless “everyone,” even if a person is a homosexual or someone living with another without being married. Similarly, in the confessional, if, for a valid reason, the priests refuses absolution in one case or the other, he can bless the penitent in order to encourage him and ask for him the grace of enlightenment and strength.

But in the blessing of a “couple,” the very object of the blessing is this illegitimate union that Catholic doctrine condemns. And to say, in paragraph no. 40, that in this blessing “there is no intention to legitimize anything,” is at best a vain wish, at worst a perjury. For in the eyes of those who are blessed just as those around them, it’s a legitimization. 

The False Safeguard of Non-Liturgical Blessing

In paragraph no. 37, the text uses the response to the dubia of the five cardinals: this response insists on the fact that “Decisions that may be part of pastoral prudence in certain circumstances should not necessarily become a norm.” The DDF concludes in paragraph no. 38: “For this reason, one should neither provide for nor promote a ritual for the blessings of couples in an irregular situation.”

The danger for the Pope, as paragraph no. 37 explains, would be to “lead to an intolerable casuistry,” according to paragraph no. 304 of Amoris laetitia. But Cardinal Joseph Zen already responded to such a pretension in his commentary on Francis’ response to the dubia of the five cardinals.

As for the fact that Francis would not want a precise rule for these blessings, this “is pastorally untenable,” asserts the Chinese cardinal. “How can the Church, in such an important matter, leave the people without a clear rule and trust individual discernment? Isn’t this how a chaos of casuistry very dangerous for souls will break out?”

For that matter, a question presents itself: will the DDF ask episcopates or bishops who have already promulgated such liturgical formulas—the Dutch-speaking Belgian episcopate as well as some German bishops—to withdraw them? The casuistic chaos has already begun.

In conclusion, this Declaration, which leads the revolutionary text of Amoris laetitia to its final consequences—which some had already anticipated—, introduces a seed of deep division and will do incalculable harm in the Church. We can only hope that reactions to it quickly give the authors an understanding of this.