Greetings my brothers and sisters,
A very Merry and Blessed Christmas to all of you and a blessed and prosperous 2024 as well!
I am sure you have heard by now of a document issued by the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the
Faith, Fiducia Supplicans. Unfortunately, most of what you have heard probably has not been a faithful
portrayal of the document and its intent. In order to clarify some elements of the declaration which
could cause confusion and consternation, and might lead us down a wrong path in our vocation
discernment, I have decided to give a short summary of it, using extensive quotes from the document

The value of this document…is that it offers a specific and innovative contribution to the pastoral
meaning of blessings, permitting a broadening and enrichment of the classical understanding of
blessings, which is closely linked to a liturgical perspective.

So, the document is not “doctrinal”, that is, it is not attempting to explain or expand on a teaching of the
church, such as marriage and sexual relations. The desire here is to allow for blessings of people who are
in situations which are not consistent with what God wants for his people, so that they can follow the
true vocation God has for each one of them. The declaration states:

It is precisely in this context that one can understand the possibility of blessing couples in
irregular situations and same-sex couples without officially validating their status or changing in
any way the Church’s perennial teaching on marriage.

The blessing is for the people who ask for the blessing. It is not for the situation in which they find
themselves, except to help them out of a situation if it is contrary to God’s will and the true vocation of
the person. If we were to require everyone to be in totally morally upright “status” before receiving
blessing, there would be very few blessings given! The document speaks of liturgical blessings and
recognizes that such official and formal blessings could not be given to people in irregular situations
since the blessing is meant precisely to bless this situation or lifestyle. However, such formal blessings
are not the only type of blessings that can be given. In fact,

One must also avoid the risk of reducing the meaning of blessings to this point of view alone, for
it would lead us to expect the same moral conditions for a simple blessing that are called for in
the reception of the sacraments.

This attitude toward informal or spontaneous blessings is meant to help us “not to ‘lose pastoral charity,
which should permeate all our decisions and attitudes’ and to avoid being ‘judges who only deny, reject,
and exclude’.
This is something very dear to Pope Francis and his pontificate: to be tender, kind and
merciful is necessary if people are going to draw near to God. In this context, then, the declaration

The blessing expresses God’s merciful embrace and the Church’s motherhood, which invites the
faithful to have the same feelings as God toward their brothers and sisters.

Finally, the declaration states that,

a blessing may be imparted…upon those who—recognizing themselves to be destitute and in
need of his help—do not claim a legitimation of their own status, but who beg that all that is
true, good, and humanly valid in their lives and their relationships be enriched, healed, and
elevated by the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Why would we want to deny a blessing to a person with such a desire? May we all have such a desire
constantly in our hearts as we seek to follow God’s call.

St. Joseph, our protector, pray for us.

Fr. Brian, OSJ