Tuesday, December 19, 2023


 Vatican News  has an article on Cardinal Cupich's official statement from the Vatican on the new theology of blessings (non-infallible directive from the DCF). The good Cardinal attempts to clarify a confusing document. My comments in red, embedded in the good Cardinal's text:

Statement of Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, on Declaration, Fiducia Supplicans

Dec. 18, 2023

Today, with the approval of the Holy Father, the Dicastery of the Doctrine of the Faith issued the Declaration Fiducia supplicans. The Declaration clarifies that there are forms of blessings, as we see throughout the Scriptures, which are “poured out on others as a gesture of grace, protection, and goodness.” Consequently, it is now permissible for ordained ministers of the Church to “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.” (I hope that all clergy and most laity already know or knew this, but stating the obvious is always helpful!)

At the heart of the Declaration is a call for pastors to take a pastoral approach by being available to people who, while not claiming a legitimization of their own status, recognize their need for God’s help and “who beg that all that is true, good, and humanly valid in their lives and their relationships be enriched, healed, and elevated by the presence of the Holy Spirit.” As such, the Declaration is a step forward, and in keeping not only with Pope Francis’s desire to accompany people pastorally but Jesus’s desire to be present to all people who desire grace and support. (This is a bit confusing. Doesn't the Catholic Canon Law require, under the pain of mortal sin, that every Catholic, even those in illicit, sinful situations, to attend Mass each and every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation? And while they might not be able to receive Holy Communion due to impediments, like breaking the fast, or in unrepentant/unforgiven mortal sin, they still receive the blessings of the Sacrificial aspect of the Mass and they receive with all at Mass the blessing of the priest at the end of Mass. And isn't is now custom and for decades for those who may not receive Holy Communion to receive a quiet blessing from the priest or deacon at Communion time when the persons cross their arms over their chest? And haven't priests and deacons always offered personal blessings to people after Mass or other venues when requested to do so without asking them to go to Confessions first? One does not need to be in a state of grace to receive a blessing which is the bestowal of actual grace upon the person(s)).

At the same time, the 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.” This is in keeping with what Pope Francis wrote in July of this year, that while “pastoral prudence must adequately discern whether there are forms of blessing, requested by one or more persons, that do not convey an erroneous conception of marriage,…it is not appropriate for a diocese, a bishops’ conference, or any other ecclesial structure to constantly and officially establish procedures or rituals for all kinds of matters.” (Is this directed to the German bishops? Thank God that the pope and Cardinal Cupich have upheld what sacramental Marriage is!)

The Declaration is quite specific in this regard, noting that in order “to avoid any form of confusion or scandal, when the prayer of blessing is requested by a couple in an irregular situation, even though it is expressed outside the rites prescribed by the liturgical books, this blessing 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 same applies when the blessing is requested by a same-sex couple.” (Cardinal Cupich, what disciplinary procedures will you use against priests and deacons who flaunt this and do it anyway and their own off-the-cuff blessing prayer indicates that not only the couple is blessed but the sex they are having too? What advice about disciplinary procedures do you recommend to your brother bishops? Is it similar to the grotesque liturgical abuses in your Archdiocese where you have taken effective methods to discipline those who do it like you have cracked down on the TLM?)

Consequently, such blessings should take 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. Indeed, through these blessings that are given not through the ritual forms proper to the liturgy but as an expression of the Church’s maternal heart—similar to those that emanate from the core of popular piety—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.” (Do you recommend that the blessing prayer for the couple, prays that any hint of sin in their lives be repented and they embrace God's grace to live chaste lives with each other, refraining from genital sex of any kind?)

In sum, what is required is a pastoral approach, for the Church, as a loving mother,  “must shy away from resting its pastoral praxis on the fixed nature of certain doctrinal or disciplinary schemes, especially when they lead to a narcissistic and authoritarian elitism, whereby instead of evangelizing, one analyzes and classifies others, and instead of opening the door to grace, one exhausts his or her energies in inspecting and verifying… Thus, when people ask for a blessing, an exhaustive moral analysis should not be placed as a precondition for conferring it. For, those seeking a blessing should not be required to have prior moral perfection.” (This seems like excellent advice for Catholics, clergy or laity, who request that the TLM be broadly allowed and without micromanagement of bishops and parish bulletins, that kind of narcissistic and authoritarian elitism, whereby instead of evangelizing, one analyzes and classifies others, and instead of opening the door to grace one exhaust his or her energies in inspecting and verifying! And that includes diagnosing and ridiculing people's psychological state of mind, so-called clericalism and rigid personalities, which Pope Francis constantly does.)

Here in the Archdiocese of Chicago, we welcome this declaration, which will help many more in our community feel the closeness and compassion of God. (Will you allow clergy to initiate these blessings and post advertisements in the bulletin and webpages encouraging people to come forward for these blessings. Are these a one time event for these couples or can they have them as often as they request them?) Can these people receive Holy Communion? Can they teach in our schools and religious education programs. Can they be lectors and Communion Ministers?


Tom Makin said...

The fact that this level of clarification is required says everything.

TJM said...

Unlike the lefty running the Archdiocese of Chicago, here is what a real Catholic priest has to say about this nonsense:

The Rev. Gerald Murray of the Archdiocese of New York told Newsmax on Monday that Pope Francis' new document that allows for church blessings of same-sex couples is "absurd" and "horrific."

"It's the groundwork for redefining the nature of sin because basically the church has always said that sex outside of marriage is sinful, so all homosexual activity is sinful," Murray told "The Chris Salcedo Show." "The document also talks about people who are in invalid second marriages, the church says, according to the words of Christ, that is adultery. So now the church is saying that your behavior is gravely sinful, offensive to God, but the church should bless you. And what does a blessing mean? It means that we ask God to favor you in that relationship. This is absurd. This is a horrific document. It is revolutionary."

But the problem is the TLM!

Mark Thomas said...

What did Cardinal Cupich clarify?

One paragraph after another of his statement consists simply of lengthy quotations from the Declaration. Cardinal Cupich allowed the Declaration to speak for itself.

Cardinal Cupich supported the DDF's insistence that the Declaration “remains firm on the traditional doctrine of the Church about marriage..."

Cardinal Cupich stated that the "Declaration is quite specific in this regard."

He made it clear that the Declaration is not confusing.

But I welcome Cardinal Cupich's statement, as well as the praise that he has heaped upon the Declaration. He has made it clear that the Declaration is precise, orthodox, and of immense pastoral value.

That is in line with one bishop after another who has praised the Declaration's determination to lead those in irregular situations "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."

Cardinal Cupich ended his statement in upbeat fashion: "Here in the Archdiocese of Chicago, we welcome this declaration, which will help many more in our community feel the closeness and compassion of God."


Mark Thomas

Michael A said...

Of course they "claim legitimacy of their own status", that's what this all about. Don't attempt to tell a homosexual couple that it's committing a sin and that they need to repent, or they'll scratch your eyes out. I don't think the pope or any of his collaborators believe that sodomy needs to be considered a sin and that's why this ruling has been made. Unless you turn your heat or AC up in the house or drive a gas powered car, you're going to heaven. Violate the commandments of the Church of Climate Change and Transgenderism and you're not only going to hell but you need to be horse whipped before. Our priorities are intact.

Mark Thomas said...

Father McDonald, thank you for having posted Cardinal Cupich's statement on the Declaration.

Cardinal Cupich did not clarify anything as he made it clear that the Declaration is not remotely confusing.

Nevertheless, Cardinal Cupich's statement in question is of great value as he is in communion with Pope Francis. As the result of said communion, Cardinal Cupich is able to pronounce authoritatively in regard to the Declaration, Fiducia Supplicans. It is he who will implement the Declaration.

Cardinal Cupich has praised the Declaration. He has made it clear that the Declaration is orthodox. He has made it clear that the Declaration is rich in mercy, as well was pastoral awareness.

As news reports have indicated, Cardinals and bishops throughout the world have pronounced favorably in regard to the Declaration.

In regard to the Declaration: Cardinal Fernandez/DDF, with Pope Francis' approval, has blessed us with a wonderful, merciful document.

Deo gratias!


Mark Thomas

TJM said...

To the adulterous woman Jesus said: “ Go and sin no more. “Our Lord did not offer her a blessing but the perverts running the Vatican apparently would.

the Egyptian said...

For MT and Fr cut and paste. The legalities are fine but it's the perception that matters. Remember it's the "spirit of V2 not what was written. Same applies here!

Mark Thomas said...

The Declaration has demonstrated the wonderful, tremendous length to which Holy Mother Church will go to accompany those engulfed in sin down the path that leads to God and holiness.

Unfortunately, it was a given that upon the Declaration's public release, the Church's two extreme wings would, to advance their respective agendas, mispresent Fiducia Supplicans.

As Cardinal Cupich noted, the Declaration will help many folks "feel the closeness and compassion of God." Sadly, rather than have embraced that reality, the Church's two extreme wings, not to mention certain news media outlets, have twisted the Declaration's true purpose.

But that is not even close to the first time that the holy attempt to apply God's radical mercy to sinners had been misrepresented by folks within, and without, the Church.

Please recall that in 2010 A.D., as is the case today with Pope Francis, Pope Benedict XVI desired in holy, powerful fashion, to lead his spiritual children into the Light.

During an interview with Pope Benedict XVI, journalist Peter Seewald had broached the subject of condom use. Chaos ensued within, and without the Church, when the following from Pope Benedict XVI was published:

Though not his fault, Pope Benedict XVI's response was misrepresented. Unfortunately, then, as now, there are folks who are not ready for Rome to apply God's radical mercy to sinners.

Pope Benedict XVI replied to Mr. Seewald's question in regard to condoms:

"There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility, on the way toward recovering an awareness that not everything is allowed and that one cannot do whatever one wants."

Peter Seewald: "Are you saying, then, that the Catholic Church is actually not opposed in principle to the use of condoms?"

Pope Benedict XVI: "She of course does not regard it as a real or moral solution, but, in this or that case, there can be nonetheless, in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality."


In a manner similar to Pope Benedict XVI's radical application of God's mercy, Pope Francis is determined to do the same. Unfortunately, as in 2010 A.D., there are certain folks who are unable to deal with that.

As was the case with Pope Benedict XVI, certain folks within, and without the Church, have misrepresented Pope Francis' application of the radical love and mercy that God offers to His children.


Mark Thomas

Mike Lutz said...

I am a sinner; the specifics of my sins are not your concern but between me, my confessor, and Christ. On the other hand I can't simply dismiss sin, sexual or otherwise.

I am truly in awe that my God is so merciful that, though in justice my sins condemn me, he is merciful enough to forgive even my most despicable sins. The price, of course, is that I have to be truly contrite for my sins and have the resolve to abjure from them in the future (realizing that my resolve may fail).

The key is to realize that what I've done is a sin. I fear that too many today are of the opinion that they decide what is or is not sinful; such is not at the core of either the Old or New Testaments. As Cardinal George was wont to say, "all are welcome, but on God's terms, not their own."

My fear is that we are transitioning from a world where I recognize that what I did is objectively wrong, and I must truly repent, confess, and ask the Lord's forgiveness, to one where I decide what is or is not in accordance with God's will. As such, we risk making idols of our proclivities, forgetting that it's Christ's church, not ours - though we are called to be members of his mystical body.

Fr Martin Fox said...

I haven't had time to read the recent instruction.

Question: does the document say anything about reaffirming the timeless teaching of Divine Law regarding the grave immorality of all sexual activity outside marriage of a man and woman?

Because it sure seems like this minimizes the gravity of such sexual activity.