For the first time since Vatican II, some cardinals and bishops…

Par l'abbé Claude Barthe

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God can providentially turn evil into a greater good. The declaration Fiducia supplicans from the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, which states in its n. 31 that it is possible to bless “couples in irregular situations and couples of the same sex”, created a new situation: an important number of bishops around the world, sometimes entire episcopates, have said that they would not receive this official teaching that they find in complete rupture with the constant teaching of the Church and therefore have forbidden their priests to give such blessings. It is a sign of hope at a time of immense dereliction for a flock who often feels without a shepherd.

Two observations are necessary:

1. It is noted that many of the episcopal reactions are only prohibiting their priests from blessing homosexual couples.

Yet, one must be careful that refusing the blessing of same sex couples – who definitely are a very great scandal – without addressing the blessing of irregular couples, tends to legitimize de facto these new “marriages” of divorcees. As it is, the request for this latter kind of blessings, or for a prayer, is by far the most frequent in parishes, the kind of blessing parish priests are most often confronted with. A significant number of parish priests already accept to bless irregular couples in their home or even at the church and they do so without any condemnation or even being called to order by their bishop. We must therefore salute the episcopal reactions, like the one from Hungary which addresses as much the blessings of same sex couples as those couples living in invalid relationships.

2. Like this we notice on the occasion of these episcopal declarations, that attempts against the moral doctrine of the Church provoke salutary reactions more easily than other doctrinal shifts, as those noticed at the time of the Second Vatican council and which were confirmed by the subsequent teaching.

Yet, the disruptions of the ecclesiology, such as the doctrine on religious liberty or the one on ecumenism, have had way more consequences in terms of the understanding the Church has of Herself and of Her mission than the declaration Fiducia supplicans or the exhortation Amoris lætitia.

Actually, these major ecclesiological inflections have then given way, like a next step, to those regarding moral, inasmuch as they have open the door to an official teaching that has no regards for rigorous coherence for what concerns the preceding magisterium.

With these two observations, we have to acknowledge in a spirit of Thanksgiving the fact that, for the first time since Vatican II, working cardinals and bishops have publicly protested against an official teaching that is not in conformity with the uninterrupted transmission of the Revelation by the magisterium of the Church.

Father Claude Barthe