CV NEWS FEED // Archbishop Joseph Fred Naumann, 74, of the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas recently wrote that “what ‘Fiducia Supplicans’ proposes has been common Catholic pastoral practice,” in response to mainstream media attempts to claim that the Vatican document changes church teaching.
On January 12, the Leaven published Naumann’s article titled “‘Fiducia Supplicans’ does not change perennial church teaching.”
“The confusion regarding ‘Fiducia Supplicans’ was predictable,” Naumann wrote. “Gay rights activists within and outside the church have been demanding the church’s blessing of same-sex unions as a necessary step to the church ultimately conforming to the culture and embracing same-sex marriages.”
Naumann wrote that after he carefully read Fiducia Supplicans, it was evident to him that “the Dicastery for the Doctrine of Faith went to great lengths to make clear that it is not possible for the church to recognize the so-called marriages of same-sex individuals.”
Additionally, the Vatican’s clarification press release on January 4 “makes clear that the changes the document promotes do not alter the church’s moral teaching, but rather seek to expand the understanding of a blessing,” Naumann wrote. “It suggests that we call the prayers for individuals seeking God’s assistance in changing their lives to be pastoral blessings and not liturgical blessings.”
“I agree with the dicastery that ‘Fiducia Supplicans,’ properly understood, does not change the church’s moral teaching,” Naumann wrote. “No Vatican dicastery nor successor of Peter can change biblical teaching, the teaching of Jesus himself and the church’s consistent 2,000-year-old perennial teaching.”
Fiducia Supplicans is also “clear that marriage is not possible for same-sex individuals nor can the church give a liturgical blessing to a physical union that is contrary to the moral law and, in the case of same-sex individuals, to the design and meaning of the human body,” Naumann wrote.
The confusion in Fiducia Supplicans stems from “its attempt to expand the understanding of blessing,” Naumann wrote. “What the church previously might describe as a brief, spontaneous intercessory prayer asking the Holy Spirit to assist individuals seeking to conform their lives more perfectly to the Gospel and the church’s moral teaching is now termed a pastoral blessing.”
Naumann highlighted that the Dicastery’s guidelines state that the blessings only last a few seconds. He quoted the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, which stated that
if two people approach together to seek the blessing, one simply asks the Lord for peace, health and other good things for these two people who request it. At the same time, one asks that they may live the Gospel of Christ in full fidelity and so that the Holy Spirit can free these two people from everything that does not correspond to his divine will and from everything that requires purification.
“Who would object to praying for an individual or individuals as described by the dicastery?” Naumman wrote. “It is the insistence that this prayer of intercession be called a pastoral blessing of a same-sex couple that has created controversy and confusion.”
“Actually, what ‘Fiducia Supplicans’ proposes has been common Catholic pastoral practice,” he wrote. “No priest worthy of the title ‘Father,’ would refuse to offer prayers for an individual or individuals who are sincerely asking for spiritual help in changing their lives in a way that conforms to God’s will.”
Naumann also highlighted Catholic apostolates Courage and Desert Stream/Living Waters Ministry as resources for “those with same-sex attraction striving to live chastely.”
In concluding Naumann wrote, “I believe the great legacy of the papacy of Pope Francis will be his pushing and prodding the church to seek to bring Jesus to those on the peripheries and for Catholics to expect to encounter the living Jesus in those on the margins of society.”
“This priority of Pope Francis has been a blessing for the church. Personally, I think that attempting to force a redefinition of blessing in a way that can be interpreted to be an accommodation to woke culture does not help to advance this great pastoral priority,” Naumann wrote.
“In the Archdiocese of Kansas City, I urge our priests and deacons to treat everyone, including those who struggle with same-sex attraction, with the respect due to one created in the divine image and for whom Jesus gave his life on Calvary,” Naumann concluded:
I encourage all of our clergy to welcome the opportunity to pray with and for anyone seeking to conform their lives to the Gospel of Jesus and the clear and consistent moral teaching of his church.
I also urge our clergy to be vigilant in striving never to cause confusion about the true nature of marriage or the church’s moral teaching on authentic love. In our overly sexualized culture, wounded by the tragic consequences of the so-called sexual revolution, we must strive to be witnesses to the joy and beauty of chaste love consistent with our state of life.