In a response released on March 15, 2021, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) asserts that the Church does not have the power to bless same-sex unions. This response, approved by the Pope, is accompanied by an explanatory note and commentary.
The CDF’s assertion comes in the traditional form of an answer to a dubium—a doubt or contentious question. This mode allows a brief and decisive formulation.
The question of this dubium is formulated by the CDF thusly: “Does the Church have the power to bless same-sex unions?” And the answer given is: “No.”
A preliminary remark: it is still astonishing that this question has been submitted to the CDF. It was probably proposed by opponents of the practice, asking Rome to intervene. But that Roman intervention is necessary shows at the very least a laxity and permissiveness in certain parts of the Church, and a passivity by Rome so far on the subject.
This is especially remarkable since the Pope Francis’s words proposing giving civil recognition to such unions has provoked a strong reaction in Catholic circles.
This response clashes nicely with the atmosphere of confusion and ambiguity that has been prevalent for too long.
The explanatory note which accompanies the response recognizes that “In some ecclesial contexts, plans and proposals for blessings of unions of persons of the same sex are being advanced.”
These are not just “plans” or “proposals.” There are documented cases of acting out in various countries.
The note goes on to recall the nature of sacramentals, of which blessings are a part. These can only be given for the sake of spiritual good: to encourage it, to favor it, and to implore God to bless those who receive the sacramental in good dispositions. Now, a human relationship, to be blessed, must be ordered to the good.
This is why it is not possible to “it is not licit to impart a blessing on relationships, or partnerships, even stable, that involve sexual activity outside of marriage … as is the case of the unions between persons of the same sex.” Because these illicit unions go against the positive will of the Creator.
Finally, there would be danger of considering these blessings as a sort of substitute for the nuptial blessing given to man and woman during marriage. Which would end up equating, in some way, these unions with marriage. Which would be profoundly wrong.
It now remains to be seen how this text will be received across the Rhine. For in the wake of the synodal path, the German bishops are clearly no longer with “plans” or “proposals.”
As reported in FSSPX.News, the Bishop of Mainz, Msgr. Peter Kohlgraf, has approved a collection of blessings for same-sex couples. He specifies: “the celebrations have taken place. As a bishop, can I annul a blessing?”
Worst. This attitude is based on a meeting of the Commission for Marriage and the Family of the German Bishops’ Conference, held on Wednesday, December 4, 2019 in Berlin.
At that meeting, there was consensus that “human sexual orientation is expressed at puberty and implies heterosexual or homosexual orientation [sic]. Both belong to normal forms of sexual predisposition, which cannot or should not be changed by specific socialization.”
The commission’s statement continued: “Whether the ban on homosexuality by [the Church’s] teaching authorities is still appropriate today has been the subject of controversy.”
Hopefully it is not too late for Germany to be convinced.