A senior Churchman in Vienna and member of the Vatican’s doctrinal watchdog, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, says he is “not happy with this statement from the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith” – the watchdog’s official name – regarding the Church’s power to bless same-sex unions.
The Church has no such power, the CDF said on Monday of last week – and explained why in a detailed letter that secular media outlets and Catholic punditry have frequently either cherry-picked or largely ignored.
Cardinal Schönborn, Abp of Vienna, distinguished blessings given to persons from those given to couples or their unions, saying that the Church – like a mother – can and should bless persons who seek her blessing whenever possible.
“The Church, as is traditionally said, is Mater et Magistra, mother and teacher,” Cardinal Schönborn offered. “She has to teach, but she is a mother first,” he added, “and many people living and feeling same-sex [attraction] are particularly sensitive to this question: ‘Is the Church a mother to us?’ And they remain children of God,” he went on to say. “They, too, want to see the Church as a mother – and that is why this declaration hit many so parti-cularly painfully: because they feel that they are being rejected by the Church.”
The distinction of individual blessings from those given to unions, however, was one the CDF letter explanatory was also at some pains to make.