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Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II and Pope Francis at the Vatican in May 2023 (CNS/Vatican Media)

One of the most influential Oriental Orthodox Churches has suspended theological dialogue with the Catholic Church in the latest blow to a recent Vatican document which sets a way for blessing members of same-sex relationships. Source: Crux.

The declaration – Fiducia Supplicans: On the Pastoral Meaning of Blessings,” was published on December 18 by the prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández.

While saying traditional Church doctrine on marriage remains unchanged, clergy are encouraged in the document to exercise personal prudence and wisdom in joining in the prayer “of those persons who, although in a union that cannot be compared in any way to a marriage,” nonetheless wish to entrust themselves to God with a blessing.

Now the Coptic Church in Egypt has “decided to suspend the theological dialogue with the Catholic Church, re-evaluate the results that the dialogue has achieved since its beginning 20 years ago, and establish new standards and mechanisms for the dialogue to proceed.”

In the March 7 release of the Church’s Synod, the Coptic Church said it “affirms its firm position of rejecting all forms of homosexual relationships, because they violate the Holy Bible and the law by which God created man male and female, and it considers that any blessing, whatever its type, for such relationships, is a blessing for sin, and this is unacceptable.”

Less than a year ago, Francis recognised 21 Coptic Orthodox workers who were beheaded by Islamist militants in Libya as martyrs and placed them in the Roman Martyrology. This was considered one of the most significant ecumenical victories between the Catholic and Oriental Orthodox churches.

At the time, Bishop Brian Farrell, the secretary of the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity, said: “This is the beginning of a new era of relations.”


Coptic Church cuts theological dialogue with Catholics; says blessing gays ‘unacceptable’ (By Charles Collins, Crux)