RECPOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY research team has been disturbed by the current heated issue of same-sex couples as the subject was mishandled by the Vatican press crew. The Church in Africa has been divided and indeed wounded by the media position of the Vatican on this topic. The Church in Ghana had earlier distanced itself from this Waterloo and some other prominent groups in Africa, away from media coverage have also described the Vatican’s position as an evil wind that blows no good to anyone. Ultimately, the Catholic Bishops in Malawi have prohibited the implementation of the Vatican declaration on the blessing of “same-sex couples” and couples in other “irregular situations”, which the Dicastery for the Doctrine of Faith (DDF) released on Monday, December 18 under the title, Fiducia Supplicans.

In a two-page statement dated Tuesday, December 19, members of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) offer “clarification on the declaration on the pastoral meaning of blessings Fiducia Supplicans” and prohibit the practice of such blessings in the Southern African nation. “We direct that for pastoral reasons, blessings of any kind and for same-sex unions of any kind, are not permitted in Malawi,” ECM members say in their collective statement.

The Catholic Church leaders’ directive prohibiting the blessings “for same-sex unions of any kind” in the country follows a four-point clarification of the latest Vatican declaration. The Catholic Bishops say they offer the clarifications “having noted certain erroneous interpretations of this declaration that have generated interest, fears, and worries amongst Catholics and people who look up to the Catholic Church for moral, spiritual, and doctrinal guidance.”

They explain, “The Declaration is NOT about the blessing of same-sex unions and sacramental endorsement of the same as married couples. No, this is a document prompted by questions to the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith regarding whether or not the blessings of God through his Ministers can be extended to everybody regardless of their state hence the title of the document is ‘On the Pastoral Meaning of Blessings’ and NOT on the blessing of same-sex unions,”

The Vatican declaration, ECM members continue, “while differentiating the meaning and levels of various blessings, reiterates that the Church’s teaching on Marriage defined as an exclusive, stable, and indissoluble union between a man and a woman, naturally open to the generation of children remains firm.”

They further reiterate that the December 18 Vatican declaration “says, rites and prayers, that could create a confusion between what constitutes marriage and what contradicts it are not allowed (See Fiducia Supplicans, The Blessings in the Sacrament of Marriage paragraph.”

“The same document stresses that the Church has always considered only those sexual relations that are lived out within marriage to be morally licit,” Catholic Bishops in Malawi say.

Regarding ordinary blessings whose recipients can be people, objects of worship and devotion, sacred images, places of work, fruits of the earth etc, ECM members say that “such blessings are to be given to anybody and anything bearing in mind that the great blessing of God is Jesus Christ, the Eternal Word with whom the Father blessed us while we were still sinners.”

“It is in this context that same-sex union couples or those living in irregular unions can ask and access non-liturgical ordinary blessings which the Church has always given to whoever asks of them,” they further say.

In permitting such blessings, ECM members caution referring to the Vatican declaration, “We should be careful that such blessings should not be construed as a liturgical or semi-liturgical act, similar to a Sacrament and that such decisions that may be part of pastoral prudence in certain circumstances, should not necessarily become a norm for the Church does not have the power to confer its liturgical blessing when that would somehow offer a form of moral legitimate union that presumes to be a marriage or to an extra-marital sexual practice.”

“While we understand the legitimate interest and fears this Declaration has generated, we wish to assure all Catholics and all those interested in Catholic teaching that the teaching of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church on Marriage remains,” they say, citing para. 4 of Fiducia Supplicans, emphasize that Marriage is “an exclusive, stable, and indissoluble union between a man and a woman, naturally open to the generation of children.”