Big Les

the Drunken Prophet

    Splitting Hairesy – part 3

    January 13th, 2024

    13 Jan 2024

    RE; Fiducia Supplicans

    Prerequisites: Responsum and Dubia

    Your Excellency,

    Thanks for humoring me. I’ve been pondering this much lately, endeavoring to give Cardinal Fernandez the benefit of the doubt, confident in God’s providence and the Sprit’s movement. After reading his clarification released on 4 January, I started to consider cultural subtleties that may have been obscure at first glance. Argentine Spanish is a bit nuanced, and certain words have a more precise meaning than they do in American English. This I think is true of some European languages as well, which might explain much of the backlash.

    His eminence affirms that same-sex unions cannot be blessed, citing the Church’s perennial teaching about marriage as the “exclusive, stable, and indissoluble union between a man and a woman, naturally open to the generation of children.” His repeated use of the word union throughout both the declaration and subsequent clarification got me thinking. The word marriage can be translated unión, but in English we see a union as simply a state of being joined without any specific reference to the parts, so any distinction between a union and couple (pareja) is nonsensical. Nonetheless, such a semantical distinction, albeit born of a cultural nuance, is a type of red herring that further confuses the issue.

    It’s important to note that the holy father did not draw such a distinction in his response to the dubia, but they both draw an unprecedented distinction between blessings. His eminence invites us “to distinguish between two different forms of blessings: ‘liturgical or ritualized’ and ‘spontaneous or pastoral’” and calls this “a broadening and enrichment of the classical understanding of blessings” In rather bold fashion, he praises this as the “real novelty of this Declaration.” With all due respect, this is utterly absurd.

    The power and efficacy of blessings do not flow from the liturgy or rite or the spontaneity of the circumstances. The power and efficacy flow from God through the baptismal priesthood, and the only distinction that can be drawn is in the appropriateness of the administration of the blessing [CCC 1669]. The teaching that “lay people may preside at certain blessings” unless a blessing pertains more to the “ecclesial and sacramental life” attests to this catechetical truth.

    I am cautious in my critique, but the poorly formed argument concerning a matter of great import is cause for concern. All that aside, the elephant in the room asks, “What is being blessed?” If we are blessing gay people struggling to overcome a life of sin, certainly this declaration is not needed as there are many mechanisms in place to assist, and some sort of exhortation could have been written to inspire a charitable response to couples seeking a blessing. If, however, we are blessing couples of the same sex, aren’t we blessing what they do seeing that they are couples because of what they do?

    Splitting Hairesy – part 2

    January 13th, 2024

    05 Jan 2024

    RE; Fiducia Supplicans

    Prerequisites: Responsum and Dubia

    Your Excellency,

    After further reflection, I’d like to attempt to answer the question(s) skirted in my first email which are barely perceptible in the declaration itself.

    The first question is, “Why promulgate a declaration to interpret the pastoral meaning of blessings?” By inference the need would seem to be to fill a doctrinal void that would justify the possibility of blessing a rather particular group of people. To my point, this group of people is same-sex couples. They are couples by virtue (or vice) of being actively involved in a homosexual union. I do not wish to further clarify.

    The next question is preeminent, “Can the Church bless same-sex unions?” For many the answer is simply no, and the CDF’s Responsum (negative) affirms this. but for some answering that question is more complex. I like to think the complexity stems from a sincere desire to welcome and reach out to the marginalized, but I fear such sensitivities obscure the question and cause confusion and dissension.

    The primary source of this confusion is in the language of the DDF’s declaration which draws a false distinction between liturgical blessings and pastoral (what I previously referred to as non-liturgical) blessings. I see this false distinction as facilitating an inverted category mistake whereby the answer to the question, “Can the Church bless same-sex unions?” would seem to be yes. Yet, not even three years ago the CDF said:

    …it is not licit to impart a blessing on relationships, or partnerships, even stable, that involve sexual activity outside of marriage (i.e., outside the indissoluble union of a man and a woman open in itself to the transmission of life), as is the case of the unions between persons of the same sex. The presence in such relationships of positive elements, which are in themselves to be valued and appreciated, cannot justify these relationships and render them legitimate objects of an ecclesial blessing, since the positive elements exist within the context of a union not ordered to the Creator’s plan. [responsum]

    Take note of the language, and allow me to be pedantic for a moment. No distinction is drawn by the CDF, but the blessing is simply qualified as ecclesial. When the Church imparts a blessing it is channeled through the clergy and done according to proper form. However, if the union to be blessed runs contrary to the natural law, it cannot be blessed as doing so would seem to render the union (relationship, partnership, couple, etc.) legitimate. To instruct the clergy that a distinction can be drawn is to insert a loophole that becomes a wedge.

    Compounding the confusion is the statement released by the USCCB that the “Church’s teaching on marriage has not changed” as if that were in question. This is a red herring of sorts albeit inadvertent. I can understand the need for peace and unity in the Church particularly at a time when there is so much division, but silence can be just as deadly. A clear and authoritative answer is needed here. Can the Church bless same-sex couples? Please pardon me if I sound impudent or imprudent.

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