Just over a month since the first alleged same-sex “marriage” in Argentina was celebrated by a Salesian priest—a scandal which indirectly had an impact on Pope Francis—the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith outlawed ceremonies to bless same-sex “unions.” And the Pope accomplished this in the form of a response to a dubium.
As I highlighted in a previous article (“Let Pope Francis Speak Out”), the extremely serious circumstances of the Ushuaia case forced the Pope to intervene lest his silence be interpreted as approval.
It happened in the pontiff’s native country: its “beneficiaries” were two local government secretaries, one of whom is transgender. Present were the current governor and the ex-governor, who performed Latin America’s first same-sex “marriage” in a central parish in the city. The celebrant was a Salesian, the most important congregation in all Patagonia and, worst of all, the couple declared that the parish priest had informed the bishop—a claim he only partially denied.
Pope Francis did not want to intervene personally but rather through the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, taking advantage of the circumstance that “in some ecclesial contexts, plans and proposals for blessings of unions of persons of the same sex are being advanced”—a veiled reference to the German Synodal Way. But the document was officially presented to him at an audience, and he explicitly approved it.
Responding to the dubium, “does the Church have the power to give the blessing to unions of persons of the same sex?,” CDF prefect Luis Cardinal Ladaria explains that, for a human relationship to be the object of a blessing, it is necessary “that what is blessed be objectively and positively ordered to receive and express grace, according to the designs of God inscribed in creation, and fully revealed by Christ the Lord.” This obviously does not happen in same-sex “unions.”
In addition, the statement adds, such blessings are illicit as “they would constitute a certain imitation or analogue of the nuptial blessing,” since “there are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family.”
We are glad that the Holy See has finally made its voice heard in rapid reaction to what happened on February 6 in Argentine Patagonia and, even more, to refute high-ranking prelates who have spoken in favor of holding such ceremonies, which manifest a clear intention “to approve and encourage a choice and a way of life that cannot be recognized as objectively ordered to the revealed plans of God.”
However, we regret that the document fails to state that stable homosexual “unions” are more serious and sinful than sporadic ones (because they harden the sinner in vice and lead him/her to impenitence) and insinuates the opposite by praising “the presence in such relationships of positive elements, which are in themselves to be valued and appreciated.”
While we are glad that the answer to the dubium reiterates the obvious truth that the Church “does not and cannot bless sin” (goodness me!), we are a little disappointed by its leaving out an aggravating factor: the fact that such relationships constitute a “grave depravity” and one of those sins that “cry out to heaven” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 2357 and 1867).
We would be fully satisfied if the Holy Father, taking advantage of this declaration’s momentum, finally answered the five dubia presented by Cardinals Meisner, Caraffa, Brandmüller and Burke regarding the correct interpretation of Chapter VIII of Amoris laetitia.
Pope Francis’s reputation would be even more compromised if he appeared in the eyes of Catholics as conniving with the sacrilegious reception of Holy Communion by divorced and civilly remarried couples than if he appeared as conniving with the scandalous “blessing” of a same-sex “union” in Ushuaia.
March 19, which marks the beginning of the Amoris Laetitia year, is a good occasion for him to exercise the Petrine munus by confirming his brothers in the faith and answering “yes” or “no” to the five questions posed by the cardinals, which we take the opportunity to remind him:
“1. It is asked whether, following the affirmations of Amoris Laetitia (300-305), it has now become possible to grant absolution in the sacrament of penance and thus to admit to holy Communion a person who, while bound by a valid marital bond, lives together with a different person more uxorio without fulfilling the conditions provided for by Familiaris Consortio, 84, and subsequently reaffirmed by Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, 34, and Sacramentum Caritatis, 29. Can the expression “in certain cases” found in Note 351 (305) of the exhortation Amoris Laetitia be applied to divorced persons who are in a new union and who continue to live more uxorio?”
“2. After the publication of the post-synodal exhortation Amoris Laetitia (304), does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 79, based on sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, on the existence of absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts and that are binding without exceptions?”
“3. After Amoris Laetitia (301) is it still possible to affirm that a person who habitually lives in contradiction to a commandment of God’s law, as for instance the one that prohibits adultery (Matthew 19:3-9), finds him or herself in an objective situation of grave habitual sin (Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, “Declaration,” June 24, 2000)?”
“4. After the affirmations of Amoris Laetitia (302) on “circumstances which mitigate moral responsibility,” does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 81, based on sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, according to which “circumstances or intentions can never transform an act intrinsically evil by virtue of its object into an act ‘subjectively’ good or defensible as a choice”?
“5. After Amoris Laetitia (303) does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 56, based on sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, that excludes a creative interpretation of the role of conscience and that emphasizes that conscience can never be authorized to legitimate exceptions to absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts by virtue of their object?”
Or will we have to wait for a scandal in Argentina for His Holiness to deign to respond to those distinguished prelates, two of whom await his response in eternity?
The Chilean-born author, José Antonio Ureta, is an influential pro-life and pro-family activist, writer and speaker who resides in France. His writings on Church and modern society have appeared worldwide. He presently serves as a senior researcher for the French Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP). He has followed Church and world events for over fifty years.