A gesture from Francis was expected that, somehow, would unmark him from the controversial note of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that prohibits the blessing of homosexual couples, and that gesture has arrived in an epistolary format. A historic letter, since it is the first time that, in writing, the Pope of Rome blesses the ‘ministry’ of priests who work with LGBTIQ believing communities.
Bishop Munilla imposes “fasting and prayer” against priests who bless homosexual couples
In a letter addressed to the Jesuit James Martin, the main promoter of an inclusive pastoral that defends the blessing of same-sex couples, as well as a new conception of sexuality and sin, Francisco thanked her for being “a priest for everyone, as God is a father for all and all “.
“God’s style has three traits: closeness, compassion and tenderness”, writes the Pope, who vindicates Martin’s “pastoral work”, while thanking the Jesuit for his “ability to be close to people, with that closeness that Jesus had and that reflects the closeness of God. ”
“I pray for your faithful, for all those that the Lord has placed by your side so that you take care of them, protect them and make them grow in the love of our Lord Jesus Christ”, ends the papal letter, which is thrown face down with the note The official publication published two months ago by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the closed the door to the blessing of homosexual couples, because “the Church does not bless and cannot bless sin.”
Doctrine of the Faith and forbidden blessings
The letter, which was not signed by Bergoglio but did have his approval (or, at least, with his knowledge), was a jug of cold water to the aspirations of Christian LGTBI groups, who hoped that this Pontiff would open up definitively the door to equal rights in the Church.
“The blessing of homosexual unions cannot be considered lawful,” noted the note, which noted that “there is no basis to assimilate or establish analogies, not even remote, between homosexual unions and God’s plan for marriage and marriage. family”. Bergoglio was “very concerned” about the damage caused to Christian LGTBI groups after the ‘No’ of the Congregation to the Doctrine of the Faith for the blessing of homosexual couples, and for not having measured the consequences of having approved the publication of the text.
In fact, a few days later, the Pope attacked those who sowed “theoretical condemnations” to anyone who broke the supposed norm, and invited them to avoid “claims of clerical legalism or moralism.” Subsequently, the Holy See did not make any comment, nor did it prohibit the movement of much of the German Church, which last May 10 called a macro-blessing of same-sex couples in Catholic churches. The ‘gay schism’ in the German Church even had curious repercussions in Spain, where the bishop of San Sebastián, José Ignacio Munilla, convened a “chain of prayer and fasting” against macro-blessing. After a few days, Francisco named Juan Carlos Cruz, one of Karadima’s victims and declared homosexual, member of the Anti-Pederasty Commission. This same Thursday, Bergoglio returned to receive Cruz, whom in his day he already told, when asked if he could receive the blessing being gay: “You know, Juan Carlos, that does not matter (…). God made you like that. God loves you like that and you should love yourself and not worry about what people say. ”
The Vatican, Spain and transphobia
The letter to James Martin is, in any case, a milestone, since it is the first time that the Pope of Rome himself speaks of “ministry” when talking about LGTBIQ pastoral care, publicly supporting the North American religious, the target of the wrath of the ultra-conservative sectors for their defense of the equal rights of Catholics in the Church, regardless of their sexual condition.
However, the controversy drags the Vatican into a continuous tug of war when it comes to homosexuality. Thus, last week, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Holy See, Paul Richard Gallagher, sent a formal note of protest before the forthcoming approval of the law against Homophobia and Transphobia in Italy, considering that it could “violate the Concordat” signed in the time of Mussolini (1929) and that consecrates the relations between Church and State in the transalpine country.
The situation reached such a point that the Italian Prime Minister, the Catholic Mario Draghi, was blunt this past week when reminding the Holy See that Italy is a “secular, non-denominational state”, which motivated the Vatican Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, tried to explain that it was not the intention to meddle in Italian affairs, but to “clarify” the difficulties that some aspects of the law could have in the centers of Catholic education. By many letters or open reflections of Bergoglio, the Catholic Church as a whole (and the Spanish one is not an exception) has a problem, and a very serious one, with sexual diversity.
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