Already repeatedly opposed to Vatican declaration "Fiducia supplicans"

Cardinal: Blessing of homosexuals new colonisation of Africa by the West

Malakoff/Paris - The debate surrounding the blessing of same-sex couples in the Catholic Church has died down a little. But for Cardinal Ambongo, President of the African Bishops' Conferences, the matter is by no means settled.

Published  on 18.03.2024 at 12:56  – 

The Congolese Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo Besungu sees the Vatican declaration on the blessing of same-sex couples as a real problem for Christians in Africa. "The African continent experienced this as a cultural colonisation of the West," said the Archbishop of Kinshasa and Chairman of the All Africa Council of Bishops SECAM in an interview with the French-language Catholic TV channel KTO.

Ambongo had already repeatedly opposed the Vatican declaration "Fiducia supplicans". He is one of the most important church representatives in Africa and is also a member of the K9 Council of Cardinals, which advises Pope Francis on fundamental issues. In January, as SECAM chairman, he summarised the results of a survey of all bishops' conferences in Africa and Madagascar. It stated that the African bishops rejected the blessing of homosexual couples authorised by the Vatican by a large majority, but at the same time wanted to maintain unity with the Pope. In the declaration "Fiducia supplicans" issued by the Vatican Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith on 18 December 2023, its prefect, the Argentinian Cardinal Victor Fernandez, permitted the blessing of same-sex couples and at the same time emphasised that any confusion with the sacrament of marriage must be ruled out.

Shock wave and misunderstandings triggered

Ambongo's response stated that the declaration from Rome had caused a shock wave and misunderstandings in the Church of Africa, as well as unrest among the faithful and pastors. Summing up, Ambongo stated: "We, the African bishops, do not consider it appropriate to bless homosexual unions or couples of the same sex. For in our context, this would cause confusion and be in direct contradiction to the cultural norms of African societies."

The text went on to say: "The language of Fiducia supplicans is too subtle for ordinary people to understand. Moreover, it is not very convincing that people who live permanently as a couple would not derive a claim to legitimacy for their status from it." It is up to each bishop to decide whether he wants to allow such blessings in his diocese. But: "The African bishops' conferences as a whole prefer not to offer blessings to couples of the same sex." (KNA)