Rochester Diocese issues statement on release of ‘Fiducia Supplicans’ - Catholic Courier

Rochester Diocese issues statement on release of ‘Fiducia Supplicans’

The Diocese of Rochester issued the following statement Dec. 18 in response to that day’s declaration, Fiducia Supplicans, from the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith:

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Through the media, the Diocese of Rochester learned today, December 18, 2023, of the Declaration from the Holy See, Fiducia Supplicans, “On the Pastoral Meaning of Blessings.”

Fiducia Supplicans “invites us to broaden and enrich the meaning of blessings.” (No. 7). From a strictly liturgical point of view, “a blessing requires that what is blessed be confirmed to God’s will, as expressed by the teachings of the Church” (No. 9) and “corresponds with God’s designs written in creation and fully revealed by Christ the Lord.” (No 11). However, outside a liturgical framework, Fiducia Supplicans states that “blessings should be evaluated as acts of devotion that ‘are external to the celebration of the Holy Eucharist and of the other Sacraments.’” (No. 24). In so doing, the Holy See states clearly that “there is no intention to legitimize anything, but rather to open one’s life to God, to ask for his help to live better, and also to invoke the Holy Spirit so that the values of the Gospel may be lived with greater faithfulness.” (No. 40).

Appreciating this distinction, Fiducia Supplicans advises that “pastoral prudence and wisdom—avoiding all serious forms of scandal and confusion among the faithful—may suggest that the ordained minister join in the prayer of those persons who, although in a union that cannot be compared in any way to a marriage, desire to entrust themselves to the Lord and his mercy, to invoke his help, and to be guided to a greater understanding of his plan of love and of truth.” (No. 30).

Fiducia Supplicans states that “The Church is thus the sacrament of God’s infinite love. Therefore, 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, as Peter did in the storm when he cried out to Jesus, ‘Lord, save me!’ (Mt. 14:30).” (No. 43). In so doing, Fiducia Supplicans sees “the possibility of blessings for couples in irregular situations and for couples of the same sex,” however, “the form of which should not be fixed ritually by ecclesial authorities to avoid producing confusion with the blessing proper to the Sacrament of Marriage.” (No. 31).

This “Declaration remains firm on the traditional doctrine of the Church about marriage, not allowing any type of liturgical rite or blessing similar to a liturgical rite that can create confusion” (Presentation), and it does not change in any way the Church’s perennial teaching on marriage, which is the “exclusive, stable, and indissoluble union between a man and a woman, naturally open to the generation of children.” (No. 4). To guide pastoral praxis, Fiducia Supplicans states that “It is a matter of avoiding that ‘something that is not marriage is recognized as a marriage,’” (No. 4) and the Church must precisely “avoid any form of confusion or scandal.” (No. 39).

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) offered the following statement: “The Declaration issued today by the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF) articulated a distinction between liturgical (sacramental) blessings, and pastoral blessings, which may be given to persons who desire God’s loving grace in their lives. The Church’s teaching on marriage has not changed, and this declaration affirms that, while also making an effort to accompany people through the imparting of pastoral blessings because each of us needs God’s healing love and mercy in our lives.”

During these days when we anticipate the celebration of the Birth of Our Savior, may we all strive to love and serve our sisters and brothers, begging the Christ Child to grant us the gift of the peace that flows from the Crib in Bethlehem.

December 18, 2023

Tags: Pope Francis
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