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Cardinal Robert McElroy addresses the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress on Friday (OSV News/Archdiocese of LA Digital Team)

The Vatican’s decision to allow varying implementations of its recent document on blessings for people in irregular and same-sex unions is part of a “great move toward decentralisation” in the Church, a US cardinal has told an education congress. Source: Angelus News.

“We have witnessed the reality that bishops of various parts of the world have made rapidly divergent decisions about the acceptability of such blessings in their countries, based substantially on cultural and pastoral factors, as well as neo-colonialism,” said Cardinal Robert McElroy in a talk delivered at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress on Friday. 

Cardinal McElroy, who served as a delegate in last October’s Synod on Synodality, was referring to Fiducia Supplicans (“Supplicating Trust”), the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith’s December 2023 document outlining the possibility of informal, non-liturgical blessings for Catholics in irregular or same-sex relationships.

Such decentralisation, Cardinal McElroy said, must not “obscure” the “rigorous obligation” of the Church everywhere to protect “LGBT persons” and accompany those who are divorced and remarried without an annulment.

While Cardinal McElroy did not mention the continent by name, the most notable global reaction to Fiducia Supplicans was a public statement from bishops’ conferences across Africa, approved by Pope Francis, declaring that it would not be “appropriate” to carry out the blessings outlined in Fiducia in Africa due to cultural differences.

In his remarks at the LA Congress, the 70-year-old cardinal acknowledged that “it is wholly legitimate for a priest to personally decline to perform the blessings outlined in Fiducia because he believes that to do so will undermine the strength of that union.”

But Cardinal McElroy also blamed opposition to such blessings on “an enduring animus among far too many towards LGBT persons.”

It is “distressing,” the prelate said, that opposition to Fiducia has focused “overwhelmingly on blessing those in same-sex relationships” compared to people in heterosexual relationships that might also be considered sinful.


Cardinal McElroy at LA Congress: Reactions to blessings doc reflect ‘decentralisation’ (By Pablo Kay, Angelus News)