In this beautifully crafted response to the recent negative Vatican announcement on blessings for same sex couples, Jesuit priest and law professor, Fr Frank Brennan SJ masterfully sows words of love. Thank you.
Fr Frank’s reasoned homily for the Fifth Sunday of Lent removes the sting from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) document that many people had read as judgemental or condemnatory, seeing it as marked by much “legalism and clericalism.” This is far from the pastoral spirit of Francis. Fr Frank embraces words of Love from the recent encyclical of Pope Francis’ ‘Fratelli tutti’.
The homily commences:
“This week, the Church’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) in Rome published a response to a query whether the Church had the power to give a blessing to unions of persons of the same sex’. It’s one word response was ‘Negative’. A simple ‘No’.
The CDF has answered one question couched in terms of Church ‘power’, the giving of a blessing, and the bestowal of a blessing on a union of two persons. But there is another question: May a priest or any other member of the faithful fervently ask God’s blessing on any couple who are committed to loving each other for life, professing fidelity and mutual support for each other? In particular, may a priest or any other member of the faithful fervently ask God’s blessing on such a couple who are precluded from the sacrament of marriage, and may a priest or member of the faithful pray for such a couple that they will be happy and fulfilled in their lives together, avoiding injury to others? I answer unreservedly, ‘Yes’. This question is not couched in terms of ‘power’ and the bestowal of a blessing on a union but in terms of asking God to bless two people who are seeking to live a life faithful to each other in love. . . . . . “
Fr Frank Brennan comments further on Facebook – 26th March 2022
Meanwhile in Rome, here is what Pope Francis said last Sunday in his Angelus address:
Read the Pope’s full Angelus address:
‘We too must respond with the witness of a life that is given in service, a life that takes upon itself the style of God – closeness, compassion and tenderness – and is given in service. It means sowing seeds of love, not with fleeting words but through concrete, simple and courageous examples, not with theoretical condemnations, but with gestures of love. Then the Lord, with his grace, makes us bear fruit, even when the soil is dry due to misunderstandings, difficulty or persecution, or claims of legalism or clerical moralism. This is barren soil. Precisely then, in trials and in solitude, while the seed is dying, that is the moment in which life blossoms, to bear ripe fruit in due time. It is in this intertwining of death and life that we can experience the joy and true fruitfulness of love, which always, I repeat, is given in God’s style: closeness, compassion, tenderness.’
In a broader context: