African bishops reject blessing of homosexual couples

African bishops reject blessing of homosexual couples

From: January 11, 2024, 7:59 pm

In late 2023, the Vatican proposed that priests bless homosexual couples. The African bishops speak of a “shock wave” caused by the measure – and reject it.

African bishops overwhelmingly reject Vatican proposal to bless gay couples. This emerges from a statement by the President of the SECAM African Episcopal Council, Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo.

It is a reaction to the “Fiducia supplicans” declaration by the Vatican religious authority of December 18, 2023. The text recommended a blessing for same-sex couples and at the same time stressed that confusion with the sacrament of marriage must be eliminated.

Cardinal: The proposal caused a “shock wave”.

In the statement, Ambongo summarized the results of a survey of all episcopal conferences in Africa and Madagascar that took place over the past two weeks. Rome's proposal sent a “shock wave” and misunderstanding across the African Church and caused unrest among believers and pastors, Ambongo wrote.

The survey then released at Episcopal Conferences revealed a broad consensus on the topic of marriage and family and a uniform attitude toward same-sex couples. Concluding, the cardinal stated: “We, the African bishops, do not consider it appropriate to bless homosexual unions or same-sex couples. Because in our context this would cause confusion and be in direct contrast to the cultural norms of African societies. .”

The text continues: “The language of 'Fiducia suplicans' is too subtle to be understood by ordinary people. Furthermore, it is not very convincing that people who live permanently as a couple do not claim legitimacy for their relationship, they would obtain status.”

Bishops can decide on blessings themselves

Ambongo indicated that there is also a different perspective in some African countries. They wanted “more time” for deeper reflection.

The statement also emphasized that Catholic pastors should treat “people in irregular situations” with benevolence and support and should treat people with homosexual orientation with respect. Furthermore, each bishop remains free to decide whether he wishes to allow such blessings in his diocese. But: “African bishops' conferences as a whole prefer not to offer blessings to same-sex couples.”