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Blessings and backlash: A conversation on ‘Fiducia Supplicans’

Father Christian Olding blesses a same-sex couple at the “Love Wins” blessing service at the Church of St. Martin in Geldern, Germany, May 6, 2021. (CNS photo/Rudolf Wichert, KNA)

On Dec. 18, the Vatican’s doctrine office—the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith—issued a declaration called “Fiducia Supplicans” which opened the possibility for priests to bless same-sex couples and couples who the church considers to be living in what it calls “irregular” situations, for example, unmarried couples that live together and people who are divorced and remarried.

In this roundtable episode of “Inside the Vatican,” host Colleen Dulle, Vatican correspondent Gerard O’Connell and national correspondent Michael J. O’Loughlin dive into the Vatican’s declaration, examining its content, the initial reactions it prompted among bishops and laypeople, and what it might signify for the future of the church.

In the latter half of the episode, the three also discuss the unprecedented move by the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar to state that they “generally prefer” not to bless same-sex couples, and why Pope Francis has allowed them to freely express their discontent.

“I think what [Pope Francis] was trying to do,” Mike says, “was offer a way for priests to respond to concrete realities in a pastoral way, in creative ways, while also allowing people who aren’t quite ready to go down this road to maintain their catholic identity, to maintain their membership in this global communion.”

Links from the show

On “Fiducia Supplicans”

On Nicaragua

Pope Francis says he hopes hell is ‘empty’

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