The research team of RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA has stumbled on a bishop in the African continent with a different view on the raging fire issuing from the recent papal document. This bishop is no other than the Portuguese-born Catholic Bishop in Cape Verde. Contrary to the raging opinions of most African bishops, this bishop has taken a different stance by emphatically declaring that Fiducia Supplicans is a mere “pastoral document”.
The Vatican declaration on the possibility of blessing “same-sex couples” and couples in other “irregular situations”, which the Dicastery for the Doctrine of Faith (DDF) released on December 18 is “a pastoral document”, Bishop Ildo Augusto dos Santos Lopes Fortes of the Catholic Diocese of Mindelo in Cape Verde has said.
Speaking to Rádio Nova de Maria – Cape Verde on Thursday, January 4, the Portuguese-born Catholic Bishop said that Fiducia Supplicans (FS) is based on mercy.
FS, Bishop dos Santos said, “is mainly a pastoral document in which each pastor will make his discernment.”
Since its release, FS has elicited mixed reactions and deep division among Catholic Bishops around the globe. The Prefect of DDF, Víctor Manuel Cardinal Fernández, has called upon each Local Ordinary to “make that discernment” on implementing FS.
According to Bishop dos Santos, FS “has underneath it the substratum of the mercy of the Mother Church, mother of all.”
“The Church belongs to all and what the Pope and the Dicastery wanted is that these brothers and sisters of ours perhaps don’t feel excluded or stigmatized,” he said, adding that the Church does approve of what those in irregular unions and situations do.
He emphasized, “There can’t be any blessings like that in the church; there can’t be anything that gives the impression that there’s a marriage, because marriage for the Church continues to be between a man and a woman, there’s no other way; the Church’s doctrine hasn’t changed at all. This document doesn’t change anything as far as the essentials are concerned.”
In the 2016 Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on love in the family, Amoris Laetitia, the Bishop said, “already left this responsibility of accompanying these more difficult cases very much to the pastors; but the main objective is that everyone is a child of God.”
The 59-year-old Catholic Bishop, who has been at the helm of Mindelo Diocese since his Episcopal Ordinary in April 2011, continued, “When we’re blessing, we’re no longer asking people: Do you deserve it? Do you not deserve it? Are you holy? Are you not holy?”
“For people to get off the wrong path, to get out of the sin they’re in, they need blessings; they need God; they need God’s light,” the member of the Clergy of Lisbon in Portugal further said, adding, “Our Lord Jesus Christ, whom we meet in the Gospel, is extremely merciful; He welcomed sinners and blessed everyone.”
FS is “not about blessing the situation; it’s not about proving what they do wrong, it’s about being you as the human creature you are, and God also wants to help you move towards holiness,” Bishop dos Santos said on January 4.
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