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African Episcopal Conferences reject blessings for same-sex marriage

African Episcopal1

African Episcopal Conferences say they strongly uphold the traditional doctrine on marriage within the Catholic Church, in a consolidated response to the declaration of Fiducia Supplicans by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith. The Vatican announced in December last year in a landmark ruling approved by Pope Francis that Roman Catholic priests can administer blessings to same-sex couples as long as they are not part of regular Church rituals or liturgies.

The Vatican said such blessings would not legitimise irregular situations but be a sign that God welcomes all. However, the synthesis of responses by African Episcopal Conferences, endorsed by His Holiness Pope Francis and Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, reveals a unified stance against blessings for same-sex couples.

The Episcopal Conferences reaffirm their commitment to the Successor of Peter and the Gospel, emphasizing that the Church’s doctrine on marriage remains unchanged. They reject liturgical blessings for same-sex couples, rooted in the Sacred Scriptures and upheld by the universal Magisterium of the Church.

“Through the declarations of the Episcopal Conferences, the Church in Africa, as the family of God, reaffirms its commitment to continuing pastoral assistance to all its members. Clergy are encouraged to provide welcoming and supportive pastoral care, particularly to couples in irregular situations. The African Bishops’ Conferences emphasize that people with a homosexual tendency must be treated with respect and dignity while reminding them that unions of persons of the same sex are contrary to the will of God and therefore cannot receive the blessing of the Church” said the African Episcopal Conferences.

While advocating for pastoral assistance to all members, including those in irregular situations, the African Bishops underscore the importance of treating individuals with a homosexual tendency with respect and dignity. However, they maintain that unions of persons of the same sex are contrary to God’s will and cannot receive the Church’s blessing.

The majority of African Bishops opt not to offer blessings to same-sex couples in their dioceses, expressing concern about potential confusion and scandal within the Church community. They draw on biblical reasons, citing passages that condemn homosexuality, and highlight the cultural context in Africa as a complicating factor.

“In addition to these biblical reasons, the cultural context in Africa, deeply rooted in the values of the natural law regarding marriage and family, further complicates the acceptance of unions of persons of the same sex, as they are seen as contradictory to cultural norms and intrinsically corrupt,” The statement said.

The African Bishops, in communion with Pope Francis, assert that extra-liturgical blessings proposed in Fiducia Supplicans cannot be carried out in Africa without causing scandals. They emphasize the need for conversion and urge Christian communities not to be shaken.

In his concluding statement, Fridolin Cardinal Ambongo, President of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), called on Christian communities to remain faithful to the defense of Christian values.

Source: Ghana/ Ansah


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