On December 18, the Vatican released a statement titled “Fiducia Supplicans.” This document has stirred questions among the faithful and has been sensationalized by both secular news media and some Catholic outlets. Bishop Erik Pohlmeier encourages everyone to read “Fiducia Supplicans” to understand its two specific points, which are not contradictory or new. (Note, the document was prepared in five languages. The English version begins on page 20.)
First, the document reaffirms the sacrament of marriage as the exclusive, stable and indissoluble union between a man and a woman, in line with longstanding Catholic doctrine (#4).
Secondly, the document emphasizes that all individuals deserve blessings in their daily lives. It mentions spontaneous and non-ritual blessings outside of the church, not connected to civil ceremonies, for couples married outside the church, and for those in same-sex unions. These blessings do not seek to legitimize anything but aim to open one’s life to God, seek his help for better living and invoke the Holy Spirit to live Gospel values more faithfully (#40). It’s important for everyone to feel blessed, even in the face of serious mistakes, as God continues to desire their well-being and hopes they turn towards the good (#27).
The Holy Father reaffirms the church’s doctrine while reminding those who may struggle with it of their dignity as children of God. We are called to accompany others on life’s journey, never turning our backs on them, and offering blessings to all we encounter, saying, “God bless you.”