The bishops of Cameroon have issued a declaration denouncing homosexuality and any form of blessing for “homosexual couples” as contrary to the Gospel, human dignity, and African values.
The declaration, titled “Fiducia supplicans” (Trusting supplication), was released on Thursday, December 21, in response to the “wave of indignation, questions and concern” among the faithful following the recent statement by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) that the Church can bless same-sex unions.
The bishops of Cameroon said they unanimously reject the CDF statement, which they called a “semantic abuse” that distorts the realities and meanings of family, couple, spouse, sexuality, and marriage.
They reaffirmed the truth of the Church’s teaching that the sexual identity of man and woman is sacred, and that marriage is the union of a man and a woman who commit to a life of love and procreation.
They also said that homosexuality falsifies human anthropology and trivializes sexuality, marriage, and the family, which are the foundation of society. They added that homosexuality is not part of African culture, but a flagrant violation of the heritage of their ancestors.
“In African culture, this practice is not part of family and social values. It is a flagrant violation of the heritage that our ancestors bequeathed to us. In the history of peoples, homosexual practices have never given rise to societal evolution, but are obvious signs of the implosive decadence of civilizations. In fact, homosexuality pits humanity against itself and destroys it,” the clerics said.
They argued that homosexuality is not a human right, but an alienation that seriously harms humanity and goes against the natural law and the revealed purposes of God. They declared that any form of blessing that recognizes “homosexual couples” as a state of life is non-compliant and unacceptable.
They reiterated their disapproval of homosexuality and homosexual unions, and strictly prohibited all blessings of “homosexual couples” in their dioceses.
They urged the faithful to remain faithful to the Gospel and to pray for the conversion of those who are involved in homosexual practices or support them.
Similar voices of discontent are rising among the clergy across Africa. In Nigeria, Catholic Bishops said: “There is no possibility in the Church of blessing same-sex unions and activities.”
In a Wednesday, December 20 statement, members of the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) adopted the stance taken by Catholic Bishops in Malawi, who, in a collective statement dated December 19, directed that “blessings of any kind and for same sex unions of any kind, are not permitted in Malawi.”
In Ghana, the President of the Catholic Bishops Conference (GCBC), Matthew Kwasi Gyamfi has said that the blessing of same-sex marriages is not permissible in the West African country, noting that the Church does not even have the rites and prayers for such arrangements.
Although the German Bishops’ Conference has welcomed the development, German Cardinal, Gerhard Müller, who previously led the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith from 2012 to 2017, has voiced opposition to the Vatican directive. On Thursday, the Cardinal published a lengthy response in which he said that any priest blessing a homosexual union would be committing a “sacrilegious and blasphemous act against the Creator’s plan and against Christ’s death for us.”
“Blessing a reality that is contrary to creation is not only impossible, it is blasphemy,” Müller said. “God cannot send his grace upon a relationship that is directly opposed to him and cannot be ordered toward him … if this blessing were given, its only effect would be to confuse the people who receive it or who attend it. They would think that God has blessed what he cannot bless. This ‘pastoral’ blessing would be neither pastoral nor a blessing. It is true that Cardinal Fernandez, in later statements to Infovaticana, said that it is not the union that is blessed, but the couple. However, this is emptying a word of its meaning since what defines a couple as couple is precisely their being a union.”
“According to the criterion of this type of blessings,” Müller said, “one could even bless an abortion clinic or a Mafia group.”