Wednesday, December 20, 2023




Blessings: A pastoral development anchored in tradition

Italian Professor Rocco Buttiglione, a member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, describes the Declaration Fiducia supplicans of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith as almost revolutionary and a return to the Church's origins and the missionary presence of Christ in human history.

By Rocco Buttiglione

The Declaration “Fiducia supplicans” on the pastoral meaning of blessings of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith marks an authentic pastoral development solidly anchored in Church tradition and its moral theology. The Dicastery's Cardinal Prefect, Víctor Manuel Fernández, wisely prefaces the Declaration with a brief presentation in which he explains, among other things, what the Declaration is not: it is not a green light to gay marriage, and it is not a change in Church doctrine regarding sexual relations outside of marriage as always a serious matter of sin. So it changes nothing, then? No, it changes a lot; it is almost a revolution. In the Church’s history, however, every authentic revolution is also simultaneously a return to the origins, the missionary presence of Christ in human history. (It is a revolution against God in the sense that the intent is to soften the ground in order to encroach further, later on, NOT NOW BUT LATER UNDER THE GUISE OF “DEVELOPMENT” to make formal prayers to bless actual immoral unions and then to accommodate anyone in any kind of union into the Sacramental life of the Church. It is a revolution against Scripture, Tradition and Natural Law for the future, but prepared now in a stealthy way by way of trickery and manipulation, tools of the devil. That is the revolution, a revolution against God! Even Sean Winters of the National Catholic Reporter acknowledges the obvious: “Pope Francis is known as a pope of surprises, and his decision to approve a document that cracked open the door to blessing same-sex unions and other "irregular" couples is a big one.”

The starting point of the reality the Declaration has in mind is that of a couple in an "irregular" situation asking for a blessing. To avoid any misunderstanding, let us imagine that they ask not a priest but their parents. Would you give this blessing? I would give it. I would not bless the irregular sexual relationship. Still, I would bless the care they have for one another, the support they give each other in life, the comfort during times of grief, and the companionship in the face of difficulties. Love is never wrong; sexual relations, on the other hand, sometimes are. In the life of this couple, the good and the bad are so closely intertwined that it is not possible to separate them with a clean break. If a daughter of mine were in such a situation I would bless her and certainly pray to God that in the journey of life, He might separate the good from the bad in that relationship by making it a step on the path to truth. God writes straight with crooked lines. I think any father would do the same thing and I don't see how a priest, if he has a father's heart for the members of his community, could do any different. (All of this is really ridiculous. Why do we need to encourage or mandate that bishops, priests and deacons give a blessing to a couple living in sin. Why not just encourage individual blessings, not a couple blessing? Clergy act on behalf of the Church and her official, institutional ministries, laity, like parents, don’t! This is mixing apples and oranges! This document was entirely unneeded except for future subversive purposes. The pope would have done well to write a document on marriage and condemn gender ideology and anti-Christian anthropologies about the body, soul and biology.)

Of course, there is the danger of scandal. There is the danger that in God's faithful people the poorest and weakest will be misled and will no longer understand what marriage is and why sex outside of marriage is wrong.  This is a real problem and one that should not be underestimated. (Exactly, that is why this document is so idiotic and pernicious!) And this is precisely why Cardinal Fernández felt the need to make his preliminary remarks. Of course, it would be easier to come to terms with this problem if there were no commentators who instead of offering clarification sow confusion and distrust. If all the sheep in the fold were safe, the shepherd would merely defend against the wolves at the door of the fold. But if many are outside and lost, then he has to go looking for them, and this involves risks and dangers. The Declaration is a response to a specific pastoral urgency of our time. (No, the pastoral urgency of our time is a Vatican and pope who do not create more confusion, more polarization and the potential for more schism. This document is a junk document, poorly written and idiotic. That is the scandal. Leading innocent people into sin by Church leaders has its just reward. Jesus says, “but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it is better for him that a heavy millstone be hung around his neck, and that he be drowned in the depths of the sea.”)

Those who ask for a blessing, in the case we are considering here, know that they are doing something that the Church does not approve of and indeed forbids. However, the Church wants to affirm a bond, a belonging. A rebellious belonging but a belonging nonetheless. Will the Church extinguish this smouldering lamplight or keep it alive, whatever is possible? (Those who are asking for the blessing, for the most part, have an ideological agenda and are happy that the Church is now blessing their sin. Fr. James Martin S.J. sees this document as a major step in allowing even more encouragement for a sinful lifestyle by the official Church and her ordained clergy! That’s the scandal!!!)

When I was young (perhaps around half a century ago) it was impossible to imagine this situation. Homosexuals were not demanding marriage; they did not want to marry. They saw marriage and monogamy as forms of oppression by bourgeois society and demanded free sex and the separation of sex and love. Or better: they thought sex was real and love only an illusion. A rethinking within the homosexual movements began perhaps when AIDS appeared (monogamy is the best defence against AIDS) but has since gone far beyond that. Sex is not simply pleasurable gymnastics: it has a natural tendency to deeply involve the person, it needs to be regulated, to take place in a normative context. For some years we have been witnessing a tentative search for a “re-regulation” of sexual relations, a rethinking of sex within a personal relationship, and even a rediscovery of love. It is in this context that the question of gay marriage also arises, unacceptable in itself (as Cardinal Fernández confirms) but an indicator of a discomfort and a search, to which the Church must give an adequate response. (The pope and Fernandez have given a completely inadequate response. This breathtaking inadequacy will have the effect of opening the door to apostasy as it concerns the sexual morality and to convert sin to virtue. Confusion reigns and it is the Vatican’s fault!)

During the synod, the concern of various national churches emerged in confronting these issues. There was a tense confrontation in which each one freely set out his or her reasons and efforts, beyond different ideological positions, to listen to the Spirit and discern what comes from Him and what instead comes from the Evil One. This Declaration offers a first response, at once in line with tradition and open to the new. (In other words it is duplicitous! That is the scandal! Duplicity is from the evil one!)

Rocco Buttiglione is a member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. He has published twelve books and more than 130 scholarly essays on philosophy and culture. He teaches political science at Saint Pius V University in Rome. He has served in Italy's parliament and as a Minister for European Affairs and Minister of Culture.


Tom Makin said...

I am so disappointed with the state of our church and I just don't understand what is happening or why. I am confused and am kind of wandering right now.

TJM said...

Cutting and pasting drivel arriving 1, 2, 3….

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Tom, it is such a scandal that the pope has caused so many Catholics who take their faith seriously and love the Church to be in such turmoil. He will have to answer for it at his particular judgement. But the Catholic Church is more than just the pope and his peccadilloes, Jesus Christ is the head. We live in a tumultuous time in the Church similar to the times in the early Church when the great heresies were debated and battled. Good will come from this, eventually. In the meantime, keep the faith, pray and do good works. God bless you.

Tom Makin said...

Thanks Father. I needed to hear that. Merry Christmas!

qwikness said...

Great comments Father. Ditto on everything you said.
These in particular:
This document was entirely unneeded except for future subversive purposes.
This document is a junk document, poorly written and idiotic.
Confusion reigns and it is the Vatican’s fault!

Fr. David Evans said...

Try replacing same-sex or irregular relationships with ‘bank robber’ or ‘physician to conduct euthanasia’

Fr. David Evans said...

Try replacing same-sex or irregular relationships with ‘bank robber’ or ‘physician to conduct euthanasia’

Unknown said...

Less than six months for Tuco to foment a growing material schism. That's gotta be a record.


Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fr Martin Fox said...

This new instruction creates a snakepit for clergy:

- We aren't allowed to have any prepared text, so we're expected to make up our own.

- Our blessing may, if it zigs one way, may inadvertently seem to bless, that which we must not bless. (I'm not addressing those clerics who will eagerly bless that which they must not bless.)

- Or, our blessing may be found inadequate by the recipients, who publicly attack the cleric for being various sorts of terrible.

- The latter is even more likely if the blessing given extemporaneously, includes words like virtue or chastity.

- Regardless of how the cleric expresses the blessing, the couple being blessed may trumpet how Father X or Deacon Y "blessed our gay-marriage!"

- Those clerics who decline to offer blessings for *couples* if they are not engaged, or married, in the natural law understanding of marriage, will be accused of being all manner of terrible.

How can the Holy Father not have foreseen this?

Unknown said...

Fr. Fox,

This proverbial Gordian knot has been pulled even tighter by the DDF. As with so many recent Vatican initiatives, pastors who have the smell of the sheep are left to untangle the resulting mess.


the Egyptian said...

N and Fr Fox
The boss has just crapped on his shepherds, you know the smell and all.

rcg said...

Just for my edification, was this written by the same bishop that wrote the book about how to kiss with my mouth? That may tell us a lot.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...