The Catholic Church cannot bless same-sex unions — Nigeria Catholic Bishops Conference makes clarification on Pope Francis speech

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The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria has said that Catholic Churches in the country would not bless same-sex unions.

The bishops said the blessing of the same-sex union is against God’s law, the teachings of the church, and the law of the country.

They made this known in a statement released and signed by the President of the conference, Lucius Ugirji and the Secretary, Donayus Ogun on Wednesday.

They said, “The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria assures the entire People of God that the teaching of the Catholic Church on marriage remains the same. There is, therefore, no possibility in the teaching of the Church of blessing same-sex unions and activities.

“That would go against God’s law, the teachings of the Church, the laws of our nation, and the cultural sensibilities of our people.”

The bishops, however, stated that Pope Francis’s permitting of the blessing of same-sex marriage was misinterpreted.

The PUNCH reported that Pope Francis officially permitted priests to bless same-sex and “irregular” couples, under certain circumstances.

Clarifying the Pope’s statement, the bishops said, “The declaration seeks to clarify the different forms of blessing that can be given to persons and objects in the Catholic Church, including the possibility of blessing persons in irregular unions. Such unions include but are not limited to divorced and remarried couples whose previous marriages had not been annulled, those living in same-sex unions, those in polygamous unions, in concubinage, etc.”

“The declaration acknowledges and carefully distinguishes between ritual, liturgical, and informal blessings. While ritual or liturgical blessings are imparted according to the established norms of the Church, informal blessings refer to prayers over people who ask for them outside the liturgy or any formal declaration offers a consideration of the possibility of extending the informal blessing to all Cod’s children, irrespective their moral condition, when they ask to be blessed.

“Nevertheless, the Declaration insists that the blessing of persons in irregular unions- and never the union of itself- can only take a non-liturgical form to avoid confusion. It should not be imparted during or in connection with connection with a civil wedding ceremony or with clothing, words, and signs associated with a wedding.

“The Declaration reiterates the Catholic Church’s perennial teaching on marriage as an “exclusive, stable and indissoluble union of a man and woman, naturally open to the generation of children” and emphatically states that the Church does not have the power to impart a blessing on irregular unions.

“The Declaration also reinforces the truth about God’s mercy. For one to willingly ask for a blessing demonstrates one’s trust in God and the desire to live according to God’s commandments. Asking for God’s blessing is not dependent on how good one is. Imperfection is the reason for seeking God’s grace.

Therefore, those in irregular unions are invited never to lose hope but rather to ask for God’s grace and mercy while remaining open to conversion.”

The bishops, however, urged priests to not defy the sacredness of the holy matrimony, saying, “The CBCN thanks all the Priests for their accompaniment of married couples, asking them to continue to stain the sacrament of holy matrimony and never to do anything that would detract from the sacredness of this sacrament. May the Lord bless you and keep you. Amen! We wish everyone a merry Christmas.”

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