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Hungarian Catholic Church Opposes Blessing of Same-Sex Couples

Hungary Today 2023.12.29.

The Hungarian Catholic Church claims that blessing same-sex couples should be avoided.

The Hungarian Catholic Bishops’ Conference issued a statement following the Vatican’s publication of a document titled Fiducia supplicans, stating that in the future, clergy will be allowed to bless same-sex couples.


According to the document on the pastoral nature of blessings, issued by the Dicastery of the Faith on December 18, 2023, if two people ask a Catholic priest for a blessing, they will be able to receive it even if their situation as a couple is “irregular.”

“The Bishops’ Conference formulates as a guideline for clerics that all people, regardless of their gender identity and sexual orientation, may be blessed individually, but that the common blessing of couples living together in a purely conjugal relationship, couples in a non-ecclesiastically valid marriage or same-sex couples should always be avoided,” the body writes in its statement.

They stress that their point of view on marriage for same-sex couples remains unchanged,

while adding that “we accompany all our brothers and sisters in particular life situations with love and respect, helping them to a deeper understanding of God’s will on the path of life according to the Gospel of Christ.”

Pope Francis’ decision on the matter has divided Catholics worldwide. Here is what the archbishop emeritus of Philadelphia had to say about the matter as published by Firstthings.com:

One of the standards the Church uses to measure the quality of her leaders is a simple line from Scripture: “God is not the author of confusion but of peace” (1 Cor. 14:33). So it was for Paul. So it is now. So it is for local pastors and bishops, including the bishop of Rome. Confusion among the faithful can often be a matter of innocent individuals who hear but fail to understand the Word. Confused teaching, however, is another matter. It’s never excusable. The transmission of Christian truth requires prudence and patience because humans are not machines. But it also demands clarity and consistency. Deliberate or persistent ambiguity—anything that fuels misunderstanding or seems to leave an opening for objectively sinful behavior—is not of God. And it inevitably results in damage to individual souls and to our common Church life.

I mention this for a reason. A Protestant friend of mine, a Reformation scholar, sent a text to his Catholic friends on December 18 with the news that “Francis has unleashed chaos in your communion.” He was referring to the text Fiducia Supplicans (“On the Pastoral Meaning of Blessings”). Rome’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF), led by Cardinal Victor Manuel Fernández—a close colleague of Pope Francis—had just released it that day. The document is a doubleminded exercise in simultaneously affirming and undercutting Catholic teaching on the nature of blessings and their application to “irregular” relationships…

First, a key role of the pope is to unify the Church, not divide her, especially on matters of faith and morals. He has a similar duty to unify the bishops and not divide them.

Second, an essential task of a loving pastor is to correct as well as accompany. Blessings should encourage, but also, when necessary, challenge. People in same-sex and other non-marital sexual unions need a challenging accompaniment from the Church. Popes, bishops, priests, and deacons are called by their vocations to be prophets as well as pastors. Pope Francis often seems to separate these roles while Jesus himself always embodied both in his ministry. His words to the woman caught in adultery were not simply “Your sins are forgiven” but also “Go and sin no more.”

Third, relationships that the Church has always seen as sinful are now often described as “irregular.” This neuters the reality of morally defective behavior and leads to confusion about what we can and can’t call “sin.”

Finally, while the document does not in fact change Church teaching on marriage, it does seem to change Church teaching on the sinfulness of same-sex activity. Marriage isn’t the point of Fiducia Supplicans. Its point is the moral nature of same-sex unions, and this is a crucial distinction.

Bishops in this country and abroad have issued statements reiterating Catholic teaching on matters of human sexuality and same-sex relationships. Nigeria’s bishops noted that there was “no possibility in the Church of blessing same-sex unions and activities” because they would “go against God’s law [and] the teachings of the Church.” And some insightful critiques of the Vatican document (along with some quite caustic ones)—for example, here, here, here, and here—have already appeared. Others are in the pipeline. But all such comments seek to mitigate damage already done. Whether the hearer is delighted or angered by the latest Vatican text, the practical fallout is a wave of confusion in the bloodstream of the Church at Christmas—a season meant for joy, but now tangled up with frustration, doubt, and conflict.

Complaints about “rigid ideological positions” are now the Holy See’s default response to any reasoned reservations about, or honest criticism of, its actions. Every pope has personal likes, dislikes, and aggravations. That’s the nature of human clay. As I’ve said elsewhere, and often, Pope Francis has important pastoral strengths that need our prayerful support. But his public complaining diminishes the dignity of the Petrine office and the man who inhabits it. It also disregards the collegial respect due brother bishops who question the Vatican’s current course.  And again, it is not of God. Characterizing fidelity to Catholic belief and practice as “fearfully sticking to rules”—the words belong to PBS, but the intent is clearly the pope’s—is irresponsible and false. The faithful deserve better than such treatment. It’s also worth noting that heading down “unexplored paths and new roads” can easily lead into the desert rather than Bethlehem.

Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., is the archbishop emeritus of Philadelphia.

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Via 24.hu and Magyar Kurír; Featured Image: Pixabay

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