French Bishops Call For Blessings Upon Same-sex couples.

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French Bishops call for blessings upon same-sex couples.

French Bishops Respond to Vatican’s Stance on Same-Sex Couples

Following the Vatican’s stance, the French Bishops call for blessings upon same-sex couples.

In a move that follows the Vatican’s recent viewpoint, the French Episcopal Conference (CEF) on this Wednesday, January 10, advocated for a “broad and unconditional welcome” regarding the blessing of same-sex couples, urging blessings for “individuals” involved but distinctly not for their union.

Alignment of Bishops with Vatican’s Guidance

Bishops aligning with the Vatican’s guidance. Echoing a recent position from the Vatican, the French Episcopal Conference (CEF) on Wednesday, January 10, promoted a “broad and unconditional welcome” for same-sex couples. The CEF, in doing so, called for blessings upon the “individuals” involved… “without confusion” with marriage.

“The Permanent Council views this declaration as an encouragement for pastors to generously bless those who humbly seek God’s aid,” stated a release from the CEF governance body. The Permanent Council of the CEF clearly differentiates from marriage: such blessings should occur “apart from any sign that might be misconstrued” as part of a marriage celebration, which remains an “exclusive union […] between a man and a woman.” However, these blessings will allow for a “broad and unconditional welcome” as advocated by the Gospel, the statement added.

Vatican’s Document on Blessings for ‘Irregular’ Couples

No doctrinal wanderings, but… In a document released on December 18 and endorsed by Pope Francis, the powerful Dicastery (ministry) for the Doctrine of the Faith authorized blessings for couples “in irregular situations” in the Church’s eyes, including remarried couples and same-sex couples, provided it’s outside liturgical rituals – a religious marriage is a mass. Titled “Fiducia supplicans” (“supplicant trust”), this note, viewed as a significant doctrinal shift, sparked opposition from many bishops, particularly in Africa. For the CEF, which also speaks of blessing “individuals,” Fiducia Supplicans “reminds that those not in a position to commit to the sacrament of marriage are neither excluded from God’s love nor His Church.” This is about “accompanying in the Church homosexual couples living together and divorced individuals in new partnerships,” noted the release.

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Bishop Marc Aillet’s Conservative Stance and CCBF’s Reaction

Bishop Marc Aillet of Bayonne, known for his conservative views, also voiced support for individual blessings in a note published on December 23. On Tuesday, January 9, the French-speaking Catholic Conference of Baptized (CCBF, representing a network of reformist Catholic associations) mocked a “minor episcopal uproar” that, in their view, sets the bishops “in direct opposition to the Roman text’s content.”

Vatican’s Position on Doctrinal Changes and Global Backlash

Since the publication of Fiducia supplicans, the Vatican has denied initiating doctrinal errors. However, “given legislations condemning imprisonment, and in some cases, torture or death for simply declaring oneself homosexual, a blessing would be imprudent,” stated the Dicastery on January 4. The backlash was particularly intense in Malawi, Nigeria, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

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