Global bishops split on same-sex blessings as resistance rises in Africa

Global bishops split on same-sex blessings as resistance rises in Africa

 

Bishop Paul Kariuki Njiru’s Critique and Prohibition in Wote Diocese

Bishop Paul Kariuki Njiru, overseeing the Diocese of Wote in Kenya, expressed dissatisfaction with the dicastery responsible for the recent declaration, citing a lack of widespread consultation with bishops.

He firmly rejected the declaration, emphasizing the commitment to uphold Gospel teachings and traditional Catholic beliefs on marriage and sexuality.

The bishop went on to prohibit priests in his diocese from blessing couples in irregular situations or same-sex unions, referencing a prior Vatican declaration from 2021.

Bishop Cleophas Oseso Tuka’s Disapproval in Nakuru Diocese

Bishop Cleophas Oseso Tuka of the Diocese of Nakuru, Kenya, echoed similar sentiments in his New Year’s message.

He asserted that the blessings of same-sex unions fundamentally contradict the teachings of the Church, as reported by the Nation Media group in Kenya.

Bishop Martin Mtumbuka’s Condemnation and Allegations in Karonga Diocese

Bishop Martin Mtumbuka of Karonga Diocese took a more vehement stance, condemning the document and alleging both heresy and blasphemy.

He expressed concern that the declaration appeared to embody heretical principles and apologized to Catholics who felt hurt and scandalized.

Mtumbuka firmly rejected the implementation of such a declaration in their dioceses.

Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar’s Response

The Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar, representing bishops across the continent, has sought input from bishops on the declaration.

Their intention is to formulate a single synodal pronouncement valid for the entire Church in Africa.

Global Perspectives and Varied Reactions

The response to Fiducia Supplicans is not uniform across the global Catholic community.

Bishops worldwide have issued diverse guidance, revealing a spectrum of perspectives.

While some bishops welcome the declaration, others approach it cautiously, and a significant number refuse to implement it.

Examples of Global Reactions

In Hungary, the Catholic Bishops Conference, along with counterparts from Eastern and Central European countries, rejected blessings for same-sex couples.

Bishop János Székely reaffirmed this stance, emphasizing that such blessings would imply moral approval of the Church for these relationships.

In Brazil, Bishop Adair José Guimarães, after consultation with lay Catholics and priests, announced the non-implementation of the declaration in his diocese due to concerns of misunderstanding and scandal.

Bishop Rafael Escudero López-Brea in Peru ordered priests not to conduct any form of blessing for couples in irregular situations or same-sex unions.

The Polish Episcopal Conference and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church similarly rejected the idea of same-sex blessings within their respective regions.

Bishop Marc Aillet’s Caution in Bayonne, France

Bishop Marc Aillet of the Diocese of Bayonne, France, expressed concerns about blessing a “couple” as per the declaration, suggesting that it might endorse homosexual activity.

Consequently, he allowed his priests to bless individuals but discouraged blessings for couples, emphasizing the call to conversion and seeking God’s grace.

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