Bishop addresses new blessings document

Published: December 19, 2023

Bishop Anthony B. Taylor issued the following statement, Dec. 19, 2023, in response to the Vatican declaration regarding informal blessings for same-sex and unmarried couples.

En Español

“As many of you know, the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF) recently issued the declaration 'Fiducia Supplicans' ('Supplicating Trust'), approved by Pope Francis, which discusses the pastoral meaning of blessings by ordained clergy (bishops, priests and deacons).

“It’s important to remember that such documents are addressed to the worldwide Church, with its differing pastoral concerns and approaches. The document begins by confirming that Church ministers must avoid any rites or prayers that contradict or create confusion about what marriage is. It then discusses the meaning of blessings in general.

“Only then does the document discuss possible blessings for persons in irregular or invalid unions or in same-sex relationships. The DDF discusses the possibility of spontaneous, non-ritualized blessings for such persons.

"If such persons approached an ordained cleric for a spontaneous blessing, the DDF recommends, for example, beginning with a brief prayer asking that the individuals (not their union) ‘have peace, health, a spirit of patience, dialogue and mutual assistance but also God’s light and strength to be able to fulfill his will completely.’ (n. 38)

"The intention of such a spontaneous blessing is not to ‘legitimize anything but rather to open one’s life to God, to ask for his help to live better and also to invoke the Holy Spirit so that the values of the Gospel may be lived with greater faithfulness.’ (n. 40)

“As we approach Christmas, my hope would be that all persons of good will would open their lives to God, ask his help to amend their lives and live better and live the Gospel values with greater faithfulness. Blessings from ministers of the Church, which is the ‘the sacrament of God’s infinite love’ (n. 43), are one means by which we might all experience the grace of God’s love and ongoing call to conversion.

"Sincerely in Christ,
+Anthony B. Taylor
Bishop of Little Rock"