Catholic Bishops in Nigeria have made an aversion to the position of Pope Francis towards blessing same-sex couples.

Rev. Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) made this announcement while delivering his speech at the formal opening of the 2024 first Plenary Assembly of the CBCN on Sunday in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

Meanwhile, the bishops noted that the position of the pope was a result of an endorsement of same-sex marriage by the Catholic Church adding that the declaration was expected to foster unity. However, the bishops expressed their disappointment that the pope’s stance has hurt the unity, morals, and catholicity of the Church.

Speaking, Urgoji said, “We must sincerely admit that the Declaration, Fiducia Supplicans (On the Pastoral Meaning of Blessings), issued on 18th December 2023, by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, has added to our pains.

“While the document prohibits liturgical blessings for same-sex couples, it recommends at the same time spontaneous pastoral blessings for couples in irregular situations, including the blessing of same-sex couples.

“It further stressed that such pastoral blessings should not be imparted in concurrence with the ceremonies of a civil union, and not even in connection with them, nor can it be performed with any clothing, gestures, or words that are proper to a wedding.

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“Given the ambiguities in the Declaration, the document quickly aroused mixed reactions of acceptance, skeptical reserve and outright rejection from Episcopal Conferences and individual Bishops across the world.”

Ugorji also stated that the declaration shook many, leading the mass shocked, outraged, and in total disbelief in Nigeria as elsewhere in other parts of the world.

According to him, many devout Catholics are pouring out their concerns as to how a priest would bless same-sex couples who are living in a sinful union without causing controversies and scandals.

“In the midst of this confusion and pushback, we must, as Pastors with the pastoral task of safeguarding the deposit of faith in its purity and integrity, uphold the teaching of the Church based on Holy Scripture and Tradition.

“We shouldn’t be conformed to this world but be transformed by renewing our minds, so we may discern what the Will of God is, what is good and acceptable and perfect. We must continue to teach our faithful that there is no possibility of blessing same-sex couples or same-sex unions in the Church in Africa.

“Homosexual acts are of grave depravity which are intrinsically disordered and above all, contrary to natural law. In furtherance of our pastoral and prophetic mission, we must also continue to stress that God loves the sinner unconditionally and calls him to repentance so that he might live,” Ugorji maintained.