On Feb. 9, Bishop Liam Cary of Baker, Oregon, said he has asked the priests of his diocese “not to bless known co-habiting couples, of the same sex or both sexes” because he does not believe that blessings for couples in such situations could be carried out in a “scandal-free” manner in his diocese.

“If a co-habiting heterosexual couple or a same sex couple were to ask a priest to bless them, they would be seeking an official sign of approval for behavior that the Church teaches is sinful in God’s sight,” he wrote in a statement. “If the priest complies with their request, the subtle distinctions of Fiducia Supplicans will not keep bystanders from concluding that the Church the priest represents no longer believes as she always did before, but is now endorsing the unions of unmarried couples….”

“Far from authorizing same-sex unions, [Fiducia Supplicans] repeatedly cautions against ‘the risk of confusing a blessing given to any other union with the Rite that is proper to the Sacrament of Marriage,'” he continued. “In fact, Cardinal Fernandez says, the new non-ritualized ‘pastoral’ blessings he proposes, should not be given if they will spread confusion about Catholic doctrine on marriage and sexual morality.”

He noted that, despite this language, following the release of Fiducia Supplicans, images of “pre-planned same-sex ceremonies filled computer screens around the globe” with priests giving blessings the document actually prohibited. “Mass media quickly spread the news worldwide: the Catholic Church has changed her mind; she now approves of same-sex unions,” he wrote.

In Africa, “what seemed to be papal authorization to bless homosexual couples stunned Evangelical and Pentecostal Christians, who had always counted on unflinching Catholic witness to the biblically based truth of marriage,” he pointed out. “Africa’s Muslims took critical note of the document too. So did the African bishops.”

Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo of Kinshasa in Congo brought his concerns to Rome, which led to a statement “on behalf of the entire Catholic Church in Africa” with the agreement of Pope Francis, stating the bishops’ belief that “the extra-liturgical blessings proposed in … Fiducia Supplicans cannot be carried out in Africa without exposing themselves to scandals.”

Bishop Cary agreed with the bishops of Africa regarding such blessings. “I do not believe they can be carried out scandal-free in the Diocese of Baker either,” he wrote….

From Angelus News