As the fire of the same-sex blessing has continued to rage unabated, the Correspondent of RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA based in Kinshasa has reported that the Congolese Bishops, after due reflections on Fiducia Supplicans have unanimously stamped their feet and said: “NO to any form of blessing of same-sex couples”.

Our report narrated that the Catholic Bishops in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have joined other Catholic Church leaders in Africa who have prohibited the implementation of Fiducia Supplicans (FS) in their Episcopal Sees and territories they govern.

In a statement, members of the National Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO) provided clarifications on the document that the Vatican Dicastery for the Doctrine of Faith (DDF) released on December 18 permitting the blessing of “same-sex couples” and couples in other “irregular situations”.

“Regardless of the recognized right of the faithful to receive help from the sacred pastors through the spiritual goods of the Church, especially the Word of God, the sacraments, and the sacramentals, we say NO to any form of blessing of same-sex couples,” CENCO members said, reiterating the stance of their counterparts in Malawi, Zambia, Cameroon, Nigeria, among others.

They urged ordained ministers, catechists, and pastoral animators “not to give blessing in the liturgical context to couples of men and women, even stable couples, in an irregular situation; this could lead to confusion and this blessing being equated with the sacrament of marriage.

“If any doubt arises, the local Ordinary should be consulted,” the Bishops said in their statement dated December 23. The Catholic Church leaders said, “Christians and people of goodwill must not blindly give in to the various ideologies of this world for the sake of being fashionable, but rather must live in it as children of light.”

They explained that blessing people in homosexual unions “can easily be seen as encouraging them to remain in this sinful situation.” According to the Bishops, same-sex unions “are deviant unions that are not part of the order of creation; Sacred Scripture presents them as serious depravities and abominations.”

“After having celebrated the 3rd National Eucharistic Congress where we promoted the values of the family, the Catholic Church in DR Congo remains firm in the faith of the universal Church expressed in its traditional doctrine concerning marriage and the family,” the Bishops in Congo said.

The Bishops have invited the people of God in the country to remain firm in their attachment to Christ, by reaffirming their Christian and African values. Meanwhile, members of the Episcopal Conference of Madagascar (CEM) have also expressed their opposition to the blessing of people in same-sex unions, saying, “There will never be a blessing of the union of homosexual couples within the Catholic Church” in the country.

They say, in their Tuesday, January 2 statement, “The blessing of homosexual unions is not part of the doctrine of the Catholic Church and is contrary to Malagasy culture. We must therefore understand the essential idea contained in the declaration if we do not want to be disorientated.”

According to the Catholic Bishops, FS was drafted in a spirit of “openness, forgiveness and above all non-exclusion, following the teachings of the Church.”

“It was to maintain the unity of the Church and not to accept the union of people of the same sex,” CEM members explained. They pointed out that FS “signifies the imploration of divine help, accompanied by the wish that the lifestyle of the people included in the categories cited in the said declaration corresponds to God’s will and that the Almighty grant his mercy to those concerned.” They noted that this blessing is different from the one given during the sacrament of the Church.

“The blessing given during the sacrament requires conditions and steps to be followed by those requesting them and is also an endorsement of the applicant’s lifestyle. On the other hand, a blessing outside the sacrament, as indicated in the Pope’s declaration, does not require these conditions and steps, but only that the person requesting the blessing be a believer,” CEM members explain. They further explained that the blessing outside the sacrament of marriage “applies to couples living together, divorcees, those remarrying after divorce, adulterers and, of course, homosexual couples.”

“It is possible to give a blessing to couples outside Christian marriage and to homosexual couples. However, there will be no fixed ritual for this, to avoid it being confused with the blessing during the sacrament of marriage,” the Catholic Bishops in Madagascar said. They noted that the blessing “does not concern unions outside Christian marriage, but rather the individuals who request it.” The aim, CEM members say “is to help them find the path of repentance.”