Rorate Caeli

"This document damages the communion of the Church, for such blessings directly and seriously contradict Divine Revelation": Strongest and clearest episcopal reaction yet from +Rafael Escudero López-Brea

Pastoral Message of the Bishop Prelate of Moyobamba on the Declaration
Fiducia Supplicans, Published by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith on December 18, 2023.

Dear priests, consecrated religious, and lay faithful:

Grace and Peace for the Nativity of the Lord!

Faced with the unprecedented bewilderment provoked by the Declaration Fiducia supplicans in the clergy and many faithful of this Prelature and in so many places in the Catholic world, I have taken a few days of prayer and reflexion to respond calmly and serenely.

The Declaration allows "the possibility of blessing couples in irregular situations and same-sex couples" (FS, 31) and in a very confusing way insists that such blessings are done "without oficially validating their status or changing in any way the Church's perennial teaching on marriage" (FS, 31), making it clear that marriage is the stable union of male and female blessed by the Sacrament.

This document damages the communion of the Church, for such blessings directly and seriously contradict Divine Revelation and the uninterrupted doctrine and practice of the Catholic Church, including the recent magisterium of Pope Francis, which is why there are no citations in the entire Declaration that rely on the previous magisterium. In its 2021 Responsum, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, with the Holy Father's rubric, told us that "The Church does not have, nor can she have, the power to bless same-sex unions."

Blessing couples in an irregular situation and same-sex couples is a grave abuse of the Most Holy Name of God, which is invoked over an objectively sinful union of fornication, adultery, or even worse homosexual activity. Moreover, in the latter case it must be emphasized that "homosexual acts are disordered and, above all, contrary to the natural law" (Catechism of the Catholic Church n. 2357). God never blesses sin. God does not contradict himself. God does not lie to us. God, who always loves the sinner unconditionally, for this very reason, seeks his repentance, his conversion and his life. God desires good for all of us.

The present Declaration distinguishes between liturgical blessings and pastoral blessings and allows us to bless couples, but not unions, with "pastoral blessings". This distinction leaves us perplexed and confused, for the act of blessing, whether performed in a liturgical assembly or in private, imparted by a minister, is still a blessing, of the same nature. To bless a couple is to bless the union that exists between them, there is no logical, real way to separate one thing from the other. Why else would they ask for a blessing together and not two separately?

The underlying problem is much more serious, and it is that not a few brothers in the episcopate and priests, contravening the objective morality of Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, have long been confusing the people of God with the indiscriminate blessing of these objectively disordered and therefore sinful unions, incurring in horrendous sacrilege.

Given the lack of clarity of the document, we must follow the uninterrupted praxis of the Church to date, which is to bless every person who asks for a blessing, and not same-sex couples or those in an irregular situation. We will avoid all scandal, confusion, inducement to sin and at the same time we will continue to show the mercy that the Church has always shown to every sinner who approaches her, above all, offering him conversion, forgiveness, the life of Grace and Eternal Life.

The Church blesses sinners, but never their sin or their sinful relationship. Our pastoral charity towards those in sinful situations obliges us to call them to conversion. Every sincerely repentant sinner with the first intention to stop sinning and to put an end to their public sinful situation (such as, for example, living together outside of a canonically valid marriage or same-sex union), can receive a blessing and even better, sacramental absolution and Holy Communion.

Dear priests and lay faithful, let us not minimize the destructive and short-range consequences resulting from this effort made by some Church hierarchs to legitimize such blessings, in some cases with good intentions and in others, as not a few have been manifesting, with the intention of destroying the Sacred Deposit of the Church's Tradition.

On the day of my episcopal ordination I solemnly swore to "preserve the deposit of faith in purity and integrity, in accordance with the Tradition always and everywhere observed in the Church since the time of the Apostles". Therefore, I admonish the priests of the Prelature of Moyobamba not to perform any form of blessing of couples in an irregular situation or same-sex couples.

Since God does not want the death of the sinner, but his conversion to eternal life, I cordially and paternally recommend and exhort those persons who feel attraction towards the same sex or live in homosexual or irregular union to approach Christ through prayer, listening to the Word, fasting, penance, and the help of the Virgin Mary, with a view to their conversion, and to take advantage of the opportunity of conversion that God offers them for a happier life and the attainment of eternal life.

Likewise, I exhort the priests and faithful of the Prelature to continue to cultivate their filial union with the present Pontiff of the Holy Church of God Pope Francis, those who preceded him and those who will come. It is this communion that moves me to undersign this present letter.

With my affection and blessing.

+ Rafael Escudero López-Brea
Bishop Prelate of Moyobamba

January 2, 2024,
Memorial of the Holy Bishops and Doctors SS. Basil and Gregory
[source in Spanish at diocesan website]