The Vatican, through the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, issued the Declaration “Fiducia supplicans” on Monday, and this was approved by Pope Francis.
It will then be “possible to bless same-sex couples but without any type of ritualization or offering the impression of a marriage. The doctrine regarding marriage does not change, and the blessing does not signify approval of the union,” said Vatican News.
The possibility for the ordained minister to consent applies when two people request a blessing, even if their situation as a couple is "irregular.” The declaration clarified that the “pastoral meaning of blessings” must avoid any elements that remotely resemble a marriage rite.
Cardinal Victor Fernandez, prefect, said the declaration allows “a broadening and enrichment of the classical understanding” through a theological reflection “based on the pastoral vision of Pope Francis.”
It is a reflection that “implies a real development from what has been said about blessings up until now, reaching an understanding of the possibility “of blessing couples in irregular situations and same-sex couples without officially validating their status or changing in any way the Church’s perennial teaching on marriage,” said Fernandez.
The Declaration came after analyzing blessings in Scripture. Those who ask for a blessing show themselves “to be in need of God’s saving presence” in their lives by expressing “a petition for God’s assistance, a plea to live better.”
The Declaration noted that when seeing them from the perspective of popular piety, “blessings should be evaluated as acts of devotion.” Those requesting a blessing “should not be required to have prior moral perfection” as a precondition.
There are “several occasions when people spontaneously ask for a blessing, whether on pilgrimages, at shrines, or even on the street when they meet a priest, and these blessings “are meant for everyone; no one is to be excluded from them, said the Declaration.
Although the couple is blessed but not the union, the Declaration noted that what is blessed is the legitimate relationship between the two people: in “a brief prayer preceding this spontaneous blessing, the ordained minister could ask that the individuals have peace, health, a spirit of patience, dialogue, and mutual assistance—but also God’s light and strength to be able to fulfill his will completely.”
To avoid “any form of confusion or scandal," when a couple in an irregular situation or same-sex couples ask for a blessing, it “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, the Declaration clarified.
This kind of blessing “may instead find its place in other contexts, such as a visit to a shrine, a meeting with a priest, a prayer recited in a group, or during a pilgrimage”.
“Even when a person’s relationship with God is clouded by sin, he can always ask for a blessing, stretching out his hand to God,” and desiring a blessing “can be a possible good in some situations," the Declaration recalled. (MTV)
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