Sunday, June 09, 2024

Kentucky parish offering scheduled same-sex blessings despite Vatican directive

Kentucky Catholic church holds 'Service ...

A Roman Catholic parish in Kentucky is offering scheduled blessings for same-sex couples despite the Vatican's recent directive that such blessings should be spontaneous.

Historic St. Paul Catholic Church in downtown Lexington is offering such a service to any couple who reaches out to Father Richard Watson, according to the parish website, which was first reported by the Catholic News Agency.

The arrangement appears to go against the Vatican's controversial December 2023 "Fiducia Supplicans" guidance, which caused an uproar within the Catholic Church globally for permitting "spontaneous blessings" for same-sex couples.

The guidance stops short of permitting the blessing of gay marriage, but allows a blessing for "people who come spontaneously to ask for a blessing show by this request their sincere openness to transcendence, the confidence of their hearts that they do not trust in their own strength alone, their need for God, and their desire to break out of the narrow confines of this world, enclosed in its limitations."

The guidance further stipulates that such blessings are to be "non-ritualized" and not something that could be confused for a formal marriage covenant or approval of homosexual behavior.

Neither Watson nor Stan "JR" Zerkowski, who serves as director of the church's LGBTQ+ Ministry, responded to The Christian Post's request for comment by the time of publication.

The website of Historic St. Paul Catholic Church, which was built in 1865, is replete with LGBTQ-related content, including an image that depicts the Virgin Mary cradling a child while wrapped in an LGBT pride flag.

"Mother, the rainbow is the lasting sign of God's covenant; as God's love wrapped you in grace, may it also wrap your LGBTQ+ children and assure them of God's love," the website wrote beneath the image, which also provided a prayer to "Our Mother of Pride."

Zerkowski, who received a handwritten note of support from Pope Francis in 2023 praising him for his ministry outreach to the LGBTQ community, penned an article for the parish website last week that appears to liken the mystery of the Trinity to the "mystery" of the trans experience.

"I'll never understand the transgender experience it is a mystery to me. But I accept it as the beautiful reality of some of my siblings and as a manifestation of God's mysterious life," Zerkowski wrote. "As a gay man, I may never understand the heterosexual experience, but I appreciate and love those who live and love a bit differently than I do."

"I understand that encountering others is a glorious encounter with the Trinity every time someone else's life is a mystery to me or when we celebrate and live our appreciation for the incredible diversity that we live among. It all points to and reveals the Divine Creator, Redeemer and Spirit!" he added.

The Diocese of Lexington also made headlines last month when Brother Christian Matson, a Catholic diocesan hermit, came out as trans-identifying with the permission of Lexington Bishop John Stowe, who has openly supported the LGBT community and once described them as an example of "unselfish love."

"You've got to deal with us because God has called us into this church," Matson was quoted as saying. "It's not your church to kick us out of — this is God's church, and God has called us and engrafted us into it."

Francis raised eyebrows during an interview last month on "60 Minutes," during which he clarified that "Fuducia supplicans" does not permit the blessing of a homosexual union itself, but simply the two individual homosexuals engaging in the union.

"What I allowed was not to bless the union; that cannot be done, because that is not the sacrament," he said. "I cannot. The Lord made it that way. But to bless each person? Yes. The blessing is for everyone."