(LifeSiteNews) — LGBT “Catholic” groups and individuals are praising Fiducia Supplicans as a not-so tacit endorsement of homosexual relationships — if not a step toward sacramental homosexual “marriages” — by the Holy See while chiding prelates and priests who recognize the declaration as an outright attack on truth, undermining Scriptural authority and the magisterium of the Church.
“This statement from the Vatican is a dramatic reversal of a document issued about two and a half years ago that declared blessings for same-sex couples could not be offered,” said Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive director of DignityUSA, an organization for LGBTQ-identifying Catholics.
A recent press release from the organization noted that “DignityUSA has blessed same-sex relationships since the 1970s and has called for equal access to marriage for LGBTQIA+ people for over 25 years.”
“This is an important recognition that the denial of blessings caused great pastoral harm to many and demonstrates a willingness to rethink discriminatory and dehumanizing theology,” Duddy-Burke said. “It also feels like a vindication of the work so many LGBTQIA+ Catholics and allies have been doing for decades to convey our deep conviction that our sexuality and gender identities are blessings from God, and totally consistent with being faithful Catholics.”
Saying what supporters of Pope Francis refuse to acknowledge, Duddy-Burke said Fiducia Supplicans is a step toward full equality and affirmation of same-sex relationships.
“It is clear from this statement that sacramental recognition of same-sex relationships is not yet on the table,” she said. “However, the Pope has expressed support for civil unions and legal protections of same-sex couples and our families. Perhaps even more importantly, significant majorities of Catholics in many countries already believe that same-sex couples’ relationships are holy, blessed, and equivalent to marriage. It may take time, but we fully expect that the official church will achieve this recognition, as well.”
“We encourage pastors around the country, and across the globe, to take advantage of this new permission to bestow blessings on same-sex couples who ask for this sign of affirmation,” she added.
Writing for Outreach, a Jesuit-run online resource for LGBTQ Catholics, Fr. James Martin wrote that Fiducia Supplicans is a “major step forward for LGBTQ Catholics,” in part, because it “continues Pope Francis’ continual outreach to LGBTQ people.”
[D]uring the month of October, Pope Francis met with LGBTQ representatives three times. A few days before the Synod began, he met with me in a private audience at the Casa Santa Marta; halfway through the Synod, he met with Jeannine Gramick, S.L., along with her New Ways Ministry team; and finally, during a general audience toward the end of the month, he met with Marianne Duddy-Burke and other representatives from the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics (G.N.R.C.), an umbrella group for LGBTQ Catholic groups worldwide.
“Speaking of umbrellas, on the day of that final meeting with G.N.R.C., an immense rainbow appeared over St. Peter’s Basilica,” Martin added.
“[Fiducia Supplicans] refers to blessings of couples. It doesn’t say separate individuals,” said Paul Riofski, a 66-year-old homosexual, according to a report in the Bay Area Reporter.
Riofski, who for decades has been a member of San Francisco’s LGBTQ “Dignity” group, an organization for LGBTQ-identifying Catholics, was commenting on a directive concerning Fiducia Supplicans given by San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone to the priests of his diocese concerning the blessing of homosexual couples.
Cordileone’s private memorandum said “any priest has the right to deny such blessings if, in his judgment, doing so would be a source of scandal in any way.”
“We believe our relationships and our love is blessed by God and consonant with God’s love,” Riofski continued. “The best thing he [Cordileone] did say publicly was telling people to read the entire document. And if you read church documents, you read the entirety and look at what’s being promoted and called on.”
“It’s very clear the purpose of this document is to open things up and be more inclusive and point a way to how people can be encouraged in their lives to grow in love and adherence to the gospel,” Riofski said. “We have different understandings, at times, of what the gospel calls for.”
“The Vatican’s instructions for blessing same-gender couples offered a clear set of parameters for how, when, and what priests are supposed to do when people request such blessings,” said Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, a group which the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) declared in 2010 “has no approval or recognition from the Catholic Church” to speak on the LGBT issue.
“The instructions were very clear and detailed, and so it seems that Archbishop Cordileone’s additional comments, including a warning about scandal, were unnecessary,” DeBernardo said. “The archbishop’s warning may cause priests to be reluctant to give such blessings when asked and may also cause some couples to be wary of asking for them.”
Archbishop Cordileone’s memo provided “an easy excuse for refusing to provide catechesis, ” said Stan JR Zerkowski, executive director of another “catholic” LGBTQ affinity group, Fortunate Families.
“The resistance to invoking a blessing on a same-sex couple and blaming it on ‘scandal’ seems to be an easy excuse for refusing to provide catechesis, which can be challenging in this regard for some, and appears to be lacking in mercy, welcome, as well as pastoral sensitivity,” Zerkowski said.