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Bishop Berg's Statement on Fiducia Suplicans, “On the Pastoral Meaning of Blessings.” 

Updated: Dec 22, 2023



Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,


On Monday, December 28, Pope Francis published a Declaration, Fiducia Suplicans, “On the Pastoral Meaning of Blessings.”   This Declaration offers guidelines for the inclusion of blessings to people who currently live in irregular situations and same-sex unions.  Upon review of the document, and consulting various sources, I wish to clarify these guidelines for the clergy and faithful of the Diocese of Pueblo.

               

First, due to confusion in the way it has been interpreted in the media, it is necessary and urgent for you to carefully review the Declaration for yourself.  It can be found on the Vatican’s website  https://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_ddf_doc_20231218_fiducia-supplicans_en.html

               

Second, as clearly stated and affirmed throughout the Declaration, the Church’s teaching on the sacramental sanctity of marriage is never to be changed.  

               

To briefly summarize Fiducia Suplicans:

                Section I., The Blessing in the Sacrament of Marriage, explains the purpose of the Nuptial Blessing, as specifically tied to the union of man and woman as husband and wife in sacramental marriage.

                Section II., The Meaning of the Various Blessings, offers examples of different blessings, eg,  “those who invoke God’s blessing through the Church are invited to ‘strengthen their dispositions through faith, for which all things are possible’” (II.10).    

                Section III, Blessings of Couples in Irregular Situations and of Couples of the Same Sex, is very important to understanding the pastoral intent and limitations of the Declaration.  Included are the following instructions:


·         The blessing is intended for those “who do not claim legitimation of their own status (III.31)” but seek supplication for aid in the Holy Spirit.


·         The blessing is to be sought and given spontaneously, and never to be ritualized or provided for by a ritual:  “Such a blessing may instead find its place in other contexts, such as a visit to a shrine, a meeting with a priest, a prayer recited in a group, or during a pilgrimage (III.40).”


·         Therefore, the blessing is never to be given in or in any conjunction with a liturgy, nor “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 (III.39).”


·         In order to understand the purpose, theology and simplicity of the Declaration’s intention, Section III is a useful guide in articulating the role of the Holy Spirit for imparting such these blessings.


As we enter the Season of Christmas, I ask you to review carefully the Declaration to internalize its intentions and understand its clear limitations.  Further discussions will be scheduled for this in the New Year.


Sincerely yours in Christ,

+Most Reverend Stephen J. Berg

Bishop of Pueblo





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