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What is happening in the Vatican?

Some saint said

“There is a particular piety that comes from having no idea what the pope in Rome is doing.”

But in this “information tsunami” age we live in, especially in a time where the nation, the world, and even the Church are experiencing great temptations to division and factioning, it’s just about impossible to ignore.  And most of the “news” we get is hardly objective facts…it’s couched in so much bias that one thing is certain: we can rest assured that we are not receiving the full truth.

You’ve probably seen headlines such as “Pope Approves Same-Sex Marriages” or “Priests Begin Blessing Same-Sex Marriages”.  These headlines come from reporting on the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (the official teaching office of the Catholic Church) which a few weeks ago issued a formal declaration on “blessings”.  

If you read the document (search online for Fiducia Supplicans and you will find it), you will see that the scope of the declaration is nowhere near as wide as the headlines make it out to be.  But at the same time, it is reasonable to be frustrated by the fact that such a declaration was made in the first place.

The intent of the declaration seems to be to make clear that any person, regardless of the regularity or the irregularity of his/her union, is free to ask for, and should receive a spontaneous blessing.  BUT, the document further explains, this blessing is upon them as persons, not on their union.

Persons have always been able to receive a spontaneous blessing.  When anyone comes to a priest and asks for a blessing, we pray for them, without asking the status of their souls.  We ask God to give them the graces they need to be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.  And even with this new declaration, priests may NOT bless same-sex unions, or cohabitating unions, or divorced-remarried without annulment unions.  So no person is excluded from a blessing, but the Church cannot ask God’s blessing on something that is, by its nature, contrary to His will.  This has not changed.

It is understandable that so many are confused over what has taken place.  We can be frustrated, we could vent our anger over the confusion that is being caused by such heavily-nuanced and often ambiguous statements from Rome…but I invite us to a different approach: what if we fast and pray for the Church, to pray for unity…real unity: unity that comes from the clear teaching of the Lord Jesus to His apostles, revealed in Sacred Scripture, entrusted to the apostles and their successors.  May the Holy Spirit provide a desire in us for this unity, a unity in the Truth that is Jesus Christ.

Praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever!
All you holy saints of God, pray for us!

Fr. Michael