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‘It’s against God’s law’ — Nigerian Catholic bishops speak on same-sex blessings

‘It’s against God’s law’ — Nigerian Catholic bishops speak on same-sex blessings
December 21
15:30 2023

More Catholic priests have continued to speak out against the Vatican’s approval of same-sex blessings.

As part of reforms to make the Catholic Church more welcoming to all persons, Pope Francis permitted priests to look kindly on queer couples seeking favours from God.

The Vatican, however, clarified that “such blessings should not be conducted with any church rites that offer the impression of a marriage”.

Francis added that “pastoral charity” requires patience and understanding and said priests should not become judges “who only deny, reject and exclude”.


The practice of blessing same-sex couples was already established in some countries such as Belgium and Germany, despite not having the approval of the Holy See until now.

However, not all of the Pope’s flocks have agreed with his new directive.

On Tuesday, Tomash Peta, archbishop of Saint Mary in Astana, Kazakhstan, became the first prelate to openly condemn the Vatican’s approval of blessings for same-sex couples.


Peta called the pope’s new stance a “great deception”.

The archbishop forbade all priests and parishes in his archdiocese from blessing same-sex couples, and warned that any “effort to legitimize such blessings” will have “far-reaching and destructive consequences”.


Also in open condemnation of the Vatican’s orders, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) said it remained committed to its duty of “clarifying” the Pope’s statement.


In a statement signed by Lucius Ugorji, archbishop of Owerri diocese; and Donatus Ogun, bishop of Uromi; the bishops said anyone requesting for a blessing which is a prayer or plea, usually delivered by a minister, has a desire to live according to God’s commandment.

As such, “those in irregular unions are invited never to lose hope but rather to ask for God’s grace and mercy while remaining open to conversion,” the statement issued on Wednesday said.

“In conclusion, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria assures the entire People of God that the teaching of the Catholic Church on marriage remains the same,” the statement added.

“There is, therefore, no possibility in the Church of blessing same-sex unions and activities. That would go against God’s law, the teachings of the Church, the laws of our nation and the cultural sensibilities of our people.”


The CBCN urged its priests to continue to sustain the sacrament of holy matrimony and “never to do anything that would detract from the sacredness of this sacrament”.



In a statement, members of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) offered “clarification on the declaration on the pastoral meaning of blessings, Fiducia Supplicans” and prohibited the practice of such blessings in the southern African nation.

“We direct that for pastoral reasons, blessings … for same-sex unions of any kind are not permitted in Malawi,” the statement said, according to the Catholic News Agency.


The Church leaders said the Vatican’s statement had been misinterpreted, saying “the declaration is NOT about the blessing of same-sex unions and sacramental endorsement of the same as married couples,” but a document “prompted by questions to the [Dicastery] for the Doctrine of the Faith regarding whether or not the blessings of God through his ministers can be extended to everybody regardless of their state, hence the title of the document is ‘On the Pastoral Meaning of Blessings’ and NOT on the blessing of same-sex unions”.


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