The Holy Father, Pope Francis has spoken again and as not unexpected, journalists are excited like starved dogs to whom sumptuous bones have been thrown, of course, the social media is on fire and quite disappointingly, people are quick to digest the finely crafted headlines without any little effort to probe the authenticity of what is being shoved down their throats. Sadly, without reading the actual declaration of the Pope, or at least a reportage of it from a reliable source, they are content with what is told them by propaganda mongers, interpretations from reporters with suspect intents and motifs, experts who specialize in putting words in the mouth of people.
Yes, it is true that the Pope okays the blessing of people who are in irregular conditions and persons who are in unions that are inconsistent with Christianity’s age-old teachings. Yes, It is true and this is not new. For those who may have taking some time and pain to read the declaration Fiducia Supplicans, It is not difficult to discern and decipher the message namely that the sinner is still in most need of the healing balm of God’s grace and blessings as made effectively available by his merciful touch and embrace (Rom 5:8-9).
Inasmuch as the sin remains commendable and is to be strongly rebuked and discouraged, the sinner’s hand that’s stretched forth toward heaven with supplication for blessings must not be shunned nor discriminated against. Nothing actually qualifies us for receiving God’s blessings, not our presumed righteousness nor moral rectitude and the ordained minister’s judgment of the sinner’s merits or deservingness cannot place him as a wall rather than a bridge between the sick person and the healer.
Fiducia Supplicans clarifies that there are a variety of blessings, a plethora of ways and mediums by which the riches of divine benefits are called forth on God’s children. Whereas some are strictly liturgical, normative and guided by formal rubrics and imparted only within the context of ritual celebrations of the sacraments, others are less formal, yet rich and powerful, these are often more spontaneous than moderated by rites and rituals and can be given when requested or required by God’s faithful via prayers expressed in deep faith, hope and firm confidence in the Father’s love and kindness. When and where this is done, it often doesn’t and shouldn’t assume the character of a sacrament or strict formal liturgy.
The Pope simply instructs Priests not to “lose pastoral charity, which should permeate all our decisions and attitudes” and to avoid being “judges who only deny, reject, and exclude.”[n 13]
Even though there are members of the church, Christ’s faithful who are in same-sex unions or living in irregular marital situations, they still remain God’s children and must never be shut out from every avenue of grace and divine benefits. Despite embodying life conditions that are inconsistent with authentic Christian behavior and biblical teaching, they are in as much need of the mercifying pastoral care of God’s ministers as well as the non-judgmental or discriminatory affection and welcoming of their fellow Christians.
Homosexuality, being as much a moral flaw as adultery, fornication, pedophilia etc are, is also sinful, just as abortion, stealing. We’re all sinners sinning differently; all sick patients in the church as in a clinic in need of the healing balm of God’s mercy and grace from the hands of the Priests who act in the person and in the name of Christ.
Pope Francis urges ordained ministers to contemplate, with an attitude of faith and fatherly mercy, the fact that “when one asks for a blessing, one is expressing a petition for God’s assistance, a plea to live better, and confidence in a Father who can help us live better”[n 21]. Indeed, for anyone with sound mind and good judgement, I’d ask: when a priest is approached by an adulterous person, a notorious thief or prostitute and he graciously obliges them, has his blessing/prayers amounted to an endorsement or approval of their morally dented behaviors? (cf. John 8:1-11, Luke 7:34, Matt 9:12-13) The Church’s teaching that proscribes the admission of gay couples into the sacrament of matrimony remains unchanged even in the letter and spirit of the declaration Fiducia Supplicans and let no media misrepresentation or propaganda mislead anyone.
God Bless Holy Mother Church
God Bless his Vicar, Pope Francis
°Fr Chike Michael Osamor
“Fiducia supplicans” in simpler terms:
1. Blessings, not marriage:
The Church understands blessings as ways to ask for God’s grace and favour in various situations. This document clarifies that it’s possible to bless same-sex couples without recognizing their union as marriage.
2. No change in marriage teaching:
The Church’s teaching on marriage as between a man and a woman remains unchanged. This blessing gesture doesn’t endorse their relationship but shows God’s love for all.
3. Blessings come in different forms: There are formal blessings, like at weddings, and informal ones, like at shrines. This document focuses on informal blessings, where anyone, including those in irregular relationships, can ask for God’s blessing.
4. Blessings show humility and need for God:
Asking for a blessing expresses trust in God and a desire for his goodness. Even if someone’s situation isn’t perfect, they can still seek God’s grace.
5. Blessings have limits:
While the Church can offer blessings to everyone, it can’t bless anything contrary to God’s will. So, this blessing doesn’t legitimize same-sex unions but asks for God’s guidance and love.
6. Discernment and respect:
The document encourages pastors to use their judgment when deciding about such blessings. The setting and words should be clear to avoid confusion with marriage ceremonies.
7. Hope and openness:
Ultimately, this document reflects the Church’s desire to welcome everyone with God’s love and mercy, even those in challenging situations. It’s a step towards greater understanding and pastoral care.
This is a simplified explanation of a complex document. For a deeper understanding, consult the original text (the English version begins on pages 20 through 28) — https://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/it/bollettino/pubblico/2023/12/18/0901/01963.pdf