Thursday, February 29, 2024

Moscow Patriarchate: "Fiducia supplicans" is dangerous

The Russian Orthodox Church is massively criticising the Vatican's declaration of principle on the blessing of same-sex couples in the Catholic Church. 

The chairman of the biblical-theological commission of the Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Hilarion, sees the document"Fiducia supplicans" as a "very serious departure from Christian moral norms", as he told the state news agency RIA Novosti in an interview on Thursday. 

Although the Vatican is not going as far as Protestant churches, "all this is perceived as a very dangerous signal and a concession by the leadership of the Catholic Church to those liberal circles that are trying to dictate their agenda".

According to Hilarion, his theological commission was commissioned by Patriarch Cyril I to analyse the Vatican document. It had come to the conclusion "that the Holy Scriptures cannot justify this new practice in any way". 

The metropolitan left it open as to when the commission's report will be published. He complained that the Vatican letter does not expect so-called irregular couples to convert or change their lifestyle.

Cyril I dismissed Hilarion as head of the Russian Orthodox Church's foreign office in mid-2022 and sent him to Hungary, where he has since served as Metropolitan of Budapest. 

However, the clergyman continues to head the theological commission. 

The document "Fiducia supplicans" (imploring trust) of 18 December allows blessings for unmarried, remarried and homosexual couples in the Catholic Church in the sense of pastoral acceptance.

Limited blessing for couples

In order to avoid confusion with a marriage, the blessing may not take place as part of a liturgical celebration. They should also not take place in an important place in the church building or in front of the altar. 

The Vatican also emphasises that the blessings neither approve nor justify the situation in which the people concerned find themselves.

The blessing document has triggered a fierce debate in many countries and within the Vatican.

Among others, the Catholic bishops of Africa opposed it by a large majority.