January 14. Sunday 2B.   Fr Obed consulted the adult catechesis and marriage preparation teams.  He discussed with them how to deal with a recent Church statement which appears to be poorly understood and can lead to confusion. They agreed, “Let us study our own bishops’ response to this one of the most recent statements.”   Cardinal Brislin, the spokesperson of the SACBC has said, “giving a blessing to couples in an irregular situation does not legitimize their union.” Let us look in more detail too.

In a message explaining the December 18 declaration on the pastoral meaning of blessings Fiducia Supplicans, issued by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith and approved by Pope Francis, Cardinal Stephen Brislin of Cape Town Archdiocese said, “The document deals with blessings, the history of blessings and the meaning of blessings in the Bible and the Catholic church.  In particular it deals with blessings to couples who are in irregular situations, including same-sex unions.  The document reaffirms the teaching of the church very, very clearly that marriage is an exclusive, stable and indissoluble union between a man and a woman naturally open to the generation of children.  Sometimes people ask for a blessing when they are writing exams, or someone is ill in the family.  Perhaps there is a family issue, or somebody is taking a journey or for some other special need.    When a blessing is given there is not an interrogation made about the person’s moral standing or their moral perfection. It is usually simply given in simple words.   The Dicastery is saying yes, blessings can be given to couples who are in same-sex unions, or indeed in other irregular unions.  Blessings bring people closer to God.   the blessing should not be a ritual that is issued by the bishops or the Bishops’ conference or any authority.  It should be left to the pastor to spontaneously give a simple blessing that could be done at a shrine, on a pilgrimage or in a prayer group.”

Fr Obed observed, “I know that some countries in Africa are not happy about the idea but our SACBC has explained it well and I like how Pope Francis is dealing with these situations to help LGBTIQ+ couples and others, like divorced and remarried couples. I’ll preach about it this Sunday and hope the right message will come across.”  

Reflect, share. Scripture: The body is not meant for immorality, but for the Lord and the Lord for the body.   Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you?   1 Cor 6:13c – 15a.   Pope Francis:  Our body itself establishes us in a direct relationship with the environment and with other living beings.  The acceptance of our bodies as God’s gift is vital for welcoming and accepting the entire world as a gift from the Father and our common home, whereas thinking that we enjoy absolute power over our own bodies turns into thinking that we enjoy absolute power over creation.  Learning to accept our body, to care for it and to respect its fullest meaning – in its femininity or masculinity –  is an essential element of any genuine human ecology.  LS 155. Pray:   for a deepening understanding of sexuality. Choose appropriate action.