Vatican clarifies same-sex marriage declaration amid criticisms

(Pope Francis. Source: Vatican News)

The doctrinal office of The Vatican has released a five-page statement to clarify the “Fiducia Supplicans” guidance it released on December 18, 2023, and approved by Pope Francis, which stirred up a controversy.

The guidance stated conditions for the blessing of the same-sex marriage, and this did not go well with the Christian community.

Recall that Christianity Nigeria earlier reported that Catholic Bishops under the auspices of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) had rejected the declaration of Pope Francis approving the blessing of same-sex by Catholic priests after following some measures.

According to the bishops, the act goes against God’s word and does not align with the principles of the church, the culture in Nigeria, and the laws of the land.

The stand of the Catholic bishops was made known in a statement by the Archbishop of Owerri and President of CBCN, Lucius Ugorji, and the Bishop of Uromi and Secretary of CBCN, Donatus Ogun.

The reception to the guidance was addressed by the head of the doctrinal office, Cardinal Victor Fernández, who asked for a full understanding of the guidance.

Vatican News reported that Fern├índez said the contrary statements from bishop’s conferences globally against the Pope’s declaration cannot be interpreted as doctrinal opposition because the document is clear and definitive about marriage and sexuality.

He added, "There is no room to distance ourselves doctrinally from this declaration or to consider it heretical, contrary to the tradition of the church, or blasphemous."

Besides, he said that the blessing of the same sex marriage is informal and it does mean an approval of anything in particular. Rather, it is a “response of a pastor towards two persons who ask for God's help.”

In his words: “Such non-liturgical blessings may require more time for application "depending on local contexts and the discernment of each diocesan bishop within his diocese.

"In some places, no difficulties arise for their immediate application, while in others it will be necessary not to introduce them, while taking the time necessary for reading and interpretation."

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