Nigerian Catholic bishops have spoken out against Pope Francis’s stance on blessing same-sex couples.

According to them, the Pope’s position could be seen as supporting same-sex marriage.

On Sunday, at the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria in Abuja, this was stated in a speech given by Most Rev. Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji during the official start of the 2024 First Plenary Assembly of the CBCN.

He claims that the Holy See’s pronouncements ought to promote harmony and cooperation on questions of faith, morality, and liturgy; instead, Fiducia Supplicans did the exact opposite, and the proclamation harmed the Church’s unity and catholicity.

The Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith issued the Declaration, Fiducia Supplicans (On the Pastoral Meaning Blessings), on 18th December 2023, and it has added to our pains, he said.

Even while it forbids same-sex couples from receiving liturgical blessings, he claims that the document also encourages pastoral blessings for couples in unusual circumstances, which may include same-sex couples.

It went on to say that pastoral blessings are not to be given at or in conjunction with civil union ceremonies, and that they are not to be conducted using any language, gestures, or attire associated with a wedding.

Episcopal Conferences and individual Bishops across the world swiftly responded with various expressions of acceptance, scepticism, and rejection due to the uncertainties in the Declaration, according to Ugorji.

He pointed out that the text was surrounded by media attention, which caused shock, outrage, and disbelief among the faithful in Nigeria and other African and global communities. Many devout Catholics wondered how a priest could bless same-sex couples who live in a sinful union without causing scandal and confusion.

Despite the misunderstandings and resistance, he emphasized that pastors had a responsibility to maintain the Church’s teachings grounded in Holy Scripture and Tradition in order to protect the faith’s deposit in its unadulterated form.

In order to know God’s will—what is good, acceptable, and perfect—we must not conform to this world but rather be changed by the renewing of our minds. The Church in Africa will not bless same-sex marriages or unions, and we must keep teaching our believers this.

“Homosexual actions are deeply sinful, inherently disordered, and, most importantly, against the laws of nature. We must also keep emphasizing that God loves sinners without condition and urges them to repentance so that they could live, as part of our pastoral and prophetic mission.

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