Nigerian Catholic bishops have voiced their dissatisfaction with Pope Francis’ stance on same-sex marriage blessings.

They claimed that the Pope’s position may be interpreted as supporting same-sex unions.

This was said by Most Rev. Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji during his remarks on Sunday at the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria in Abuja, during the official start of the 2024 First Plenary Assembly of the CBCN.

He said that pronouncements or statements made by the Holy See ought to promote harmony and communion regarding matters of theology, morality, and liturgy. Still, sadly, Fiducia Supplicans had the opposite effect, harming the Church’s unity and catholicism.

“We must sincerely admit that the Declaration, Fiducia Supplicans (On the Pastoral Meaning Blessings), issued on 18th December, 2023, by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, has added to our pains,” he said.

He claims that although the documents forbids same-sex couples from receiving liturgical blessings, it also encourages couples in unusual circumstances to receive spontaneous pastoral blessings, which include same-sex couples.

“It further stressed that such pastoral blessings should not be imparted in concurrence with the ceremonies of a civil union, and not even in connection with them nor can it be performed with any clothing, gestures, or words that are proper to a wedding.

“Given the ambiguities in the Declaration, the document quickly aroused mixed reactions of acceptance, sceptical reserve and outright rejection from Episcopal Conferences and individual Bishops across the world,” Ugorji said.

He pointed out that the text’s release caused shock, anger, and disbelief among the faithful in Nigeria, other African countries and the world due to the media hype surrounding it. Many pious Catholics in the communities wondered how a priest could bless same-sex couples who live in a sinful union permanently without causing confusion and scandal.

He said, “In the midst of this confusion and pushback, we must, as Pastors with the pastoral task of safeguarding the deposit of faith in its purity and integrity, uphold the teaching of the Church based on Holy Scripture and Tradition.

“We shouldn’t be conformed to this world but be transformed by renewing our minds, so we may discern what the will of God is, what is good and acceptable and perfect. We must continue to teach our faithful that there is no possibility of blessing same-sex couples or same-sex unions in the Church in Africa.

“Homosexual acts are of grave depravity which are intrinsically disordered and, above all, contrary to natural law. In furtherance of our pastoral and prophetic mission, we must also continue to stress that God loves the sinner unconditionally and calls him to repentance so that he might live.”

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