“Also, knowing the culture of our peoples strongly attached to the values deriving from Natural Law in matters of marriage and family, we note that the reception of this possibility given by the Declaration Fiducia Supplicans to bless same-sex couples is problematic in our ecclesial context,” CECCI members says.

They add that homosexuality “offends our ancestral and cultural values” and Fiducia Supplicans “gives the impression that our Church approves and encourages a reality that is intrinsically evil, unnatural and contrary to our customs and habits.”

“Consequently, we your Archbishops and Bishops, your spiritual guides … reaffirm our attachment to the values of the family, of the sacrament of marriage between a man and a woman, as willed by God from the beginning. We therefore ask ordained ministers to refrain from blessing same-sex couples and couples in irregular situations,” Catholic Bishops in Ivory Coast direct.

They invite the people of God under their pastoral care “to prayer, serenity and peace”.

Since its release, Fiducia Supplicans has elicited mixed reactions and deep division among Catholic Bishops around the globe.

In directing against the imparting of blessings to “same-sex couples and couples in irregular situations”, CECCI members join their counterparts in other African countries and particular Episcopal Sees, including the Southern African nations of Malawi and Zambia, the Central African nation of Cameroon, and Kenya’s Archdiocese of Nairobi, and the Diocese of Wote, among others.

The Prefect of the DDF, Víctor Manuel Cardinal Fernández, has reportedly weighed in on the reluctance on a section of Catholic Bishops to implement Fiducia Supplicans, encouraging Local Ordinaries “to make that discernment.” 

In an interview that the Spanish newspaper ABC published, Cardinal Fernández noted that in his understanding, the objections to the DDF Declaration have to do with “the impropriety of giving blessings in their regional contexts that easily would be confused with a legitimation of an irregular union.”

He reportedly cited Africa, where he said that “there is legislation that penalizes with prison the mere fact of declaring oneself to be gay,” and added, “Imagine [what a] a blessing [would do].”

“It’s proper for each local Bishop to make that discernment in his Diocese or in any case, to give further guidance,” the Argentine Cardinal who has been at the helm of DDF since September 2023 following his July 1 appointment has been quoted as saying.