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It's wrong! It's wrong!! It's wrong!!!

It's wrong! It's wrong!! It's wrong!!!
The Roman Catholic Church is not walking the talk

By Mary Ann Mueller
VOL Special Correspondent
December 20, 2022

In light of Pope Francis' "fatherly and pastoral approach" to the challenges of LGBTQ community, he has just turned the Roman Catholic Church on its ear and the entire world -- Catholic, Protestant, Anglican ... straight or gay ... religious or nonreligious -- is sitting up and taking notice.

Monday (Dec.18) the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith issued "Fiducia supplicans" (Supplicating Trust) which now allows for Roman Catholic priests to bless same-sex persons in relationships or other non-sacramentally married Catholic couples.

"With the Declaration 'Fiducia supplicans' issued by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, approved by Pope Francis, it will be possible to bless same-sex couples but without any type of ritualization or offering the impression of a marriage," Vatican News explained in a news release Monday morning. "The doctrine regarding marriage does not change, and the blessing does not signify approval of the union."

Vatican News is the Vatican's official Internet news portal which umbrellas Vatican Radio, L'Osservatore Romano -- daily newspaper -- and Vatican Media -- television station -- all under the oversight of the Dicastery for Communication.

The Catholic Church has just fallen down the same rabbit hole that the Church of England has by turning a deaf ear and a blind eye to sin in the name of pastoral accommodations.

And Pope Francis has signed off on this move. By doing so the news that the Church of England performed its first same-sex blessing of a pair of lesbian priestesses Sunday (Dec. 17) was kicked off the front-page Monday when the Catholic Church's signal to allow same-sex blessings sucked all the air out of the CofE story.

This has been a l-o-o-n-n-n-g-g-g-g time coming -- 10 years in fact.

But this shift did not come until after Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI died New Year's Eve last year. Had he still been alive and slowly walking, he would certainly have had something to say since he championed heterosexual marriage and other traditional aspects of the Catholic Church.

He was dubbed "God's Rottweiler" for his full-throated defense of traditional Catholic doctrine, values, and liturgy. As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger he was the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith -- now called Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith -- the same office which released Fiducia supplicans. Under Cardinal Ratzinger such a document would never have seen the light of day.

Pope Francis signaled as early as July 2013, a mere four months after he became Pope, that something was in the wind. His softness in critical Catholic moral teachings is well known starting with his "Who am I to judge?" comment in his first news conference aboard the papal plane returning from the 2013 World Youth Day in Brazil.

The pontiff was asked by reporters about gays in the clerical ranks. He responded: "If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?"

This comment signaled to the LGBTQ lobby that there seemed like an "official" shift in the Catholic Church's stance on homosexuality since Francis is the pope after all.

In 2013 Fr. James Martin, a well-known proponent of the homosexual lifestyle being compatible with Catholic social justice teaching, responded positively to the Pope's airplane comment: "Today Pope Francis has, once again, lived out the Gospel message of compassion for everyone."

On Monday, Fr. Martin, a brother Jesuit of Pope Francis, was again crowing: "Be wary of the 'Nothing has changed' response to today's news," Fr. Martin tweeted on X. "It's a significant change. In short, yesterday, as a priest, I was forbidden to bless same-sex couples at all. Today, with some limitations, I can."

The Associated Press reported: "The Rev. James Martin, who advocates for a greater welcome for LGBTQ+ Catholics, praised the new document as a 'huge step forward' and a 'dramatic shift' from the Vatican's 2021 policy. 'Along with many Catholic priests, I will now be delighted to bless my friends in same-sex marriages," he said in an email.

"Speaking as a confessional and conservative evangelical Protestant Christian, there's a lot at stake here," explained Albert Mohler on his Tuesday's (Dec. 19) The Briefing, a daily analysis of news and events from a Christian worldview.

"The bottom line is that this is a disaster," Mohler said. "It's a disaster I think on many fronts, but in particular it's a disaster because the impact of this in the larger culture is going to be to add momentum to the very forces that are tearing apart gender, tearing apart sexuality, tearing apart civilization, tearing apart marriage, tearing apart sexual morality, and all the rest."

Since Jorge Bergoglio became Pope Francis in 2013, he has consistently seemed to try and chart another path causing confusion among the faithful and frustration with conservative Catholics who seek to follow the Faith once delivered to the saints.

Initially I was delighted at Francis' election as Pope on March 13, 2013. I was intrigued by what I saw as humbleness and humility -- He carried his own grips. He personally paid his hotel bill. He didn't move into the spacious 10-room papal apartment in the Apostolic Palace opting for the modest two-room suite in the Domus Sanctae Marthae instead.

I was wrong. Francis seems to be a wolf in sheep's clothing. A Trojan horse following in the footsteps of the Church of England rather than the Bloody Footsteps of Jesus Christ.

Both Pope Francis and the Archbishop of Canterbury are dancing with the devil and taking souls into the netherworld with them.

Justin Welby has thumbed his nose at Lambeth Resolution 1:19 which emphatically states three things:

1: Marriage is between a man and a woman until death;

2: Homosexual practice is rejected as incompatible with Scripture; and

3): The legitimizing or blessing of same-sex unions is ill advised as is the ordination of those involved in same-gender relationships

Lambeth 1:10 passed in 1998 was reaffirmed at Lambeth 2008 and is still in place as 2023 turns into 2024.

Roman Catholic teaching on homosexuality is even more declarative.

Paragraph 2357 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: "Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that 'homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.' They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved."

Paragraph 492 of The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church fleshes out the Catechism of the Catholic Church's teaching describing homosexual acts as "expressions of the vice of lust."

An immoral desire for sex (lust) is one of the seven deadly sins -- pride, greed, wrath, envy, lust, gluttony, and sloth.

"Grave sins against chastity differ according to their object: adultery, masturbation, fornication, pornography, prostitution, rape, and homosexual acts," the Compendium states. "These sins are expressions of the vice of lust. These kinds of acts committed against the physical and moral integrity of minors become even more grave."

The Catholic Church grounds its official teaching on homosexuality in Genesis 19:1-11; Leviticus 18:22 & 20:13; I Corinthians 6:9; Romans 1:18-32; and I Timothy 1:10.

In March 2021 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (now the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith) answered the dubium (question): "Does the Church have the power to give the blessing to unions of persons of the same sex?"

The one-word response was: "Negative."

A dubium (dubia) is described as "a request for clarity from an office of the Roman Curia or even of the Pope on a matter of Church teaching, a liturgical issue, or a fine point of interpreting canon law." The Responsum answers the dubia with competent executive authority.

Deeper in the 2021 Responsum (answer) it says: "The answer to the proposed dubium does not preclude the blessings given to individual persons with homosexual inclinations, who manifest the will to live in fidelity to the revealed plans of God as proposed by Church teaching. Rather, it declares illicit any form of blessing that tends to acknowledge their unions as such," it says. "In this case, in fact, the blessing would manifest not the intention to entrust such individual persons to the protection and help of God, in the sense mentioned above, but to approve and encourage a choice and a way of life that cannot be recognized as objectively ordered to the revealed plans of God."

Continuing the 2021 response fleshes out: "At the same time, the Church recalls that God Himself never ceases to bless each of His pilgrim children in this world, because for Him 'we are more important to God than all of the sins that we can commit.' But He does not and cannot bless sin: He blesses sinful man, so that he may recognize that he is part of His plan of love and allow himself to be changed by Him. He in fact 'takes us as we are, but never leaves us as we are.'"

The 2021 explanation states that: "the Church does not have, and cannot have, the power to bless unions of persons of the same sex ..."

Quickly Franklin Graham has weighed in on Monday's shocking change in Catholic practice. He tweeted: "Pope Francis has now approved Catholic priests 'blessing' same-sex couples. But none of us, including the Pope, has the right to 'bless' what God calls sin. 'Woe to those who call evil good and good evil...' (Isaiah 5:20)."

Yet, like his Anglican counterpart, Pope Francis has not only thumbed his nose at the official teaching of the Church of Rome, he has turned the Catholic Church on its ear by totally ignoring what his church clearly teaches in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: "Under no circumstances can they (homosexual relationships) be approved."

Well, he just approved of such relationships.

The newly-released document "Fiducia supplicans" now allows for the blessing of gays and lesbians persons but come up short on the blessings their sexual union. The key wording is: "The doctrine regarding marriage does not change, and the blessing does not signify approval of the union."

This is doublespeak. The Bishop of Rome is speaking out of both sides of his mouth with a forked tongue.

"When two people request a blessing, even if their situation as a couple is 'irregular,' it will be possible for the ordained minister to consent," Fiducia supplicans states. "However, this gesture of pastoral closeness must avoid any elements that remotely resemble a marriage rite."

A couple in an "irregular" relationship also means civilly married Catholic couples who have previously been civilly divorced and have not gone through the annulment process to spiritually release them from their previous union.

A Catholic annulment declares that at least one person in the initial marriage was unable to give their full consent to that marriage thus rendering it sacramentally lacking. Such impediments can include that one spouse is already married and living a double life of bigamy; the groom is a validly ordained Catholic bishop, priest or deacon and is canonically unable to marry by virtue of his Vow of Celibacy; the bride is too young to give her informed consent; a grandchild is on the way and the parents have forced the couple to marry in a shotgun wedding; the couple goes into the marriage with a "if it doesn't work out we'll just divorce" mindset; or it is a sham marriage of convenience where the couple has no preconceived intention to honestly fulfill the marriage vows required of them ...

A lavender marriage is a marriage of convenience where a homosexual partner gets married to a heterosexual spouse to give the appearance of matrimonial normalcy so as to hide their actual sexual orientation.

"Gay couples will be able to have special services of blessing in Church of England parishes for the first time," the BBC explained following the one-vote passage of the measure in November's General Synod. "The services, while not formal weddings, will be able to include the wearing of rings, prayers, confetti and a blessing from the priest."

Sunday (Dec. 17) the Church of England celebrated its first -- of many to come -- same-sex blessings. The clergy couple were two lesbian priestesses, Catherine Bond and Jane Pearse, who opened the floodgates during a Service of Holy Communion at St. John the Baptist Church in Suffolk.

The Yorkshire Post reports: "The couple knelt in front of the vicar, Canon Andrew Dotchin, at St John the Baptist Church in Felixstowe, Suffolk, where they are both associate priests in the parish."

"We give thanks for Catherine and Jane, to the love and friendship they share, and their commitment to one another as they come before you on this day, trusting you as the keeper of all goodness, strengthening their love by your love, and gladdening their hearts with your joy," Dotchin prayed.

Both Bond and Pearse are mothers who have divorced their husbands who are the fathers of their children.

On Sunday (Dec. 17) The Telegraph headline read: "Today is the day the Church of England comes out of the closet."

The story continues: "'I think applause may be appropriate.' So began a chorus of clapping at St John the Baptist's in Felixstowe on Sunday morning, where the usual Eucharist service included a blessing, for the first time in the Church of England's 489-year history, for same-sex partners. With the rainbow LGBTQIA+ flag waving outside, Jane Pearse and Catherine Bond became one of the first couples in England to receive a prayer that would publicly affirm and celebrate their union. A move made legal at the turn of midnight Saturday -- instead of the usual clink of teacups, the pop of champagne corks punctured the post-service chatter, with congregants and the women, both vicars, well aware of the magnitude of the morning's celebration."

On December 12 news broke that a set of prayers had been authorized by the CofE House of Bishops to be used in the implementation of the Living in Love and Faith initiative which was the result of a seven-year period of listening, learning and discernment. Five days later the first Church of England sanctioned same-sex blessing took place.

The Prayers of Love and Faith include a selection of readings and prayers of thanksgiving, dedication and asking for God's blessing for same-sex couples to be used in regularly scheduled church services, such as a Sunday Eucharist or Evensong, but not stand-alone blessings services.

However, the Church of England version of same-sex blessings goes further than what the Church of Rome will allow in its new sanctioning of gay blessings.

The Catholic version of same-sex blessings will be devoid of formal wedding attire, the giving of rings, the pronouncement of vows, a nuptial Mass, and the blessings of the union. The individual persons -- not their union -- is to receive an extemporaneous blessing to help the persons draw closer to God and seek His mercy.

"Indeed, the grace of God works in the lives of those who do not claim to be righteous but who acknowledge themselves humbly as sinners, like everyone else. This grace can orient everything according to the mysterious and unpredictable designs of God," Paragraph 32 of the Fiducia supplicans states. "Therefore, with its untiring wisdom and motherly care, the Church welcomes all who approach God with humble hearts, accompanying them with those spiritual aids that enable everyone to understand and realize God's will fully in their existence."

As with much of what Pope Francis says Fiducia supplicans is laced with ambiguity and confusion.

"Catholics are being placed in an impossible and profoundly uncomfortable position by the Vatican; that of remaining good Catholics and knowing that they fuel the death of the Faith; or risking being bad Catholics in order to be faithful to Jesus and, by their sacrifice and witness, keeping the Church alive," the Queen's former Chaplain Gavin Ashenden remarked upon hearing the news. "Who would choose to be a Catholic at a time like this?"

Recently faithful Catholics have seen what it is like to go against Pope Francis and his "pastoral" ways. Both Texas Bishop Joseph Strickland (IV Tyler) and Cardinal Raymond Burke, who is a canon lawyer in his own right and was the VIII Bishop of LaCrosse, have lost their positions in publicly opposing Francis. The Texas bishop was stripped of his small East Texas diocese, and the retired Wisconsin cardinal was tossed from his apartment in Rome and stripped of his retirement pension.

The LGBTQ crowd will leap on the Vatican's new signaling on same-sex blessings as their permission to enter into a same-sex marriage believing it is blessed by the Catholic Church. That is not quite what is happening, not that Fr. Martin and his ilk would notice.

Apparently, what the Catholic Church is doing is holding the line on traditional marriage yet coming up with a way for those who are living outside of the traditional understanding of marriage to approach God and seek His help through imploring His blessing.

"One who asks for a blessing show himself to be in need of God's saving presence in his life and one who asks for a blessing from the Church recognizes the latter as a sacrament of the salvation that God offers," Paragraph 20 of the Fiducia supplicans states. "To seek a blessing in the Church is to acknowledge that the life of the Church springs from the womb of God's mercy and helps us to move forward, to live better, and to respond to the Lord's will."

Of course, the push will be to sanction separate same-sex blessings celebrations in the Catholic Church and eventually the full-blown solemnization of gay marriage in a Church of England wedding ceremony.

But Justin Welby also has tried to thread the needle between traditional marriage and gay weddings by attempting to come up with Via Media -- a middle way. He has focused on unity as that middle way.

"But the role of archbishop is to be a focus of unity," the Archbishop of Canterbury explains. "That isn't just convenient or pragmatic. In Christian thinking that is part of God's call to church leaders. Therefore, I have to be convinced before God that it's the right moment to do it -- and not just politically."

The Times reported that Jayne Ozanne, a gay rights campaigner on the General Synod, said: "The archbishop's primary duty is to safeguard God's sheep. By sitting on the fence and wrongly prioritising 'unity at all costs', the archbishop continues to sacrifice LGBT+ people on the altar of expediency and fails to recognise the harm that church teaching continues to cause LGBT+ people."

Last January Welby said: "I will be extremely joyfully celebratory of these new prayers of blessing but will not personally use them in order not to compromise that pastoral care."

However, his cohort the Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell feels differently.

"I believe the great gift of sexual physical intimacy is to be cherished, and belongs in stable, loving, committed relationships," the Archbishop of York said. "And therefore, I will celebrate the fact that people are living that way and expressing their intimacy that way."

Currently same-sex marriage is legal in 35 countries around the world including England and the United States. Estonia is slated to join that list on January 1, 2024. Italy allows for same-sex civil unions but not same-sex marriage.

At the time that same-sex marriage became the law of the land in the United States in June 26, 2015 General Convention was meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The Episcopal New Service reports what happened when news about same-sex marriage becoming law reached General Convention.

"Applause broke out in legislative committee meetings around the Salt Palace Convention Center here when General Convention participants received word about the historic U.S. Supreme Court ruling June 26 that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to be married," Mary Frances Schjonberg wrote. "The ruling came just as Episcopalians began debating the church's understanding of sacramental marriage and the accompanying canonical definition of marriage, and whether to extend that definition to include same-sex couples."

"I rejoice that the Supreme Court has opened the way for the love of two people to be recognized by all the states of this union, and that the court has recognized that it is this enduring, humble love that extends beyond the grave that is to be treasured by society wherever it exists," Presiding Bishop Katherine Jeffers Schori said. "Our society will be enriched by the public recognition of such enduring faithful love in families headed by two men or two women as well as by a woman and a man. The children of this land will be stronger when they grow up in families that cannot be unmade by prejudice or discrimination. May love endure and flourish wherever it is to be found."

The Utah convention was the final General Convention she would attend as Presiding Bishop. Michael Curry, the XI Bishop of North Carolina, was elected as the XXVII Presiding Bishop.

Quickly the 2015 Episcopal General Convention went full steam ahead into enshrining same-sex marriage into its DNA by changing church canons to reflect the new legal reality. It was already working in polishing various same-sex liturgies: "The Witnessing and Blessing of a Marriage;" "The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage;" The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant;" and "I Will Bless You and You Will be a Blessing."

"The Episcopal Church was the first province in the Communion to allow same-sex couples to marry, with General Convention approving a canonical change in 2015, days after the U.S. Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage bans unconstitutional," the Episcopal News Service reported in the 2022 run up to Lambeth Conference.

Both the Church of Rome and the Church of England will have to be careful now that the slippery slope into marriage equality has been laid down. Dissenting bishops and clergy will have no guarantee that their opposing stance will be respected and their ministries protected.

In the Episcopal Church Bishop William Love (IX Albany) was shown the door for his refusal to allow same-sex marriage ceremonies being performed in his upper New York state diocese. He has since safely landed in ACNA.

Pope Francis has already shown he is not opposed to dropping the hammer on those who differ with him. Bishop Strickland and Cardinal Burke can attest to that.

And the Church of England has already proved that the concept of 'Mutual Flourishing' has not worked when it comes to women in the episcopate. The Bishopette of London Sarah Mullally refused to ordain Calvin Robinson because of his conservative views particularly on marriage. He sought diaconal ordination through the Free Church of England and was priested by the Old Catholics in the Nordic Catholic Church.

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