The Association of Catholic Priests Welcomes Fiducia Supplicans

Press Release

22 Dec 2023

The Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) warmly welcomes the recent Vatican declaration, Fiducia Supplicans, from the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, allowing priests to offer blessings to same-sex couples and other Catholics living in ‘irregular’ situations.

While the Vatican document attaches a number of stipulations to the new initiative – and has already drawn conflicting responses across a broad spectrum of Catholic life ­– it is clear that although the pace of the Francis reforms usually reflect his preference for gradual change, he sometimes, suddenly and unexpectantly, moves the process forward by pointing a clear path into the future.

This is particularly true with contentious (or hot button) issues where the pause button (or what in Irish terms is described as the brostaigh go bog approach) receives an unexpected but unapologetic focus. While Pope Francis can lower the gear change when, in his opinion, the ‘hasten slowly’ approach goes beyond a prudent speed limit (as at present in Germany), he can also press the accelerator to move the process forward. 

While significant movement on a pastoral approach to same-sex couples and other Catholics living in ‘irregular’ situations was expected, and Pope Francis, in attempting a change of mindset and culture, makes clear that all voices should be heard, this unequivocal and unambiguous intervention by the Vatican with his active support, has brought, if not a new dawn, at least a new focus, a new impetus and a new freedom to the search for a more sensitive and humane response to urgent pastoral needs.

In this bold move Pope Francis (who has always stressed the need for a pastorally sensitive and imaginative approach to accompany individuals struggling on their spiritual journeys) has created new space and new boundaries to facilitate a pastoral reform of long-standing and oppressive requirements.

After his 87th birthday, Fiducia Supplicans is Pope Francis’s gift to our Church of reason and compassion and with his pontificate drawing to a natural close, it has not gone unnoticed or unsaid that popes generally refrain from undoing reforms put in place by their predecessors. As with other Francis-inspired reforms, the much-needed refinement that Fiducia Supplicans introduces into Catholic Church pastoral practice will become irreversible.  

The ACP warmly applauds this historic and hopeful initiative.


ACP Leadership: Roy Donovan, Tim Hazelwood and Gerry O’Connor.


Confirmation: Liamy Mac Nally, ACP Admin Secretary, 087-2233220

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  1. Colm Holmes says:

    It is disappointing to read that the ACP consider Germany is going “beyond a prudent speed limit”.
    The German Synodal Path is addressing the key issued which the Vatican has failed to address for 60 years:
    * Laity involved in decision making
    * Equality for women
    * A priesthood of service
    * A Sexual morality for the 21st century

    If the Vatican continues to “hasten slowly” after the October 2024 Synod they are obviously unaware of the massive exodus from our churches and the huge disparity between Christ’s message of love and the Patriarchy of Power and Privilege.

  2. Sean Connell says:

    It is obvious to me as it has been from the beginning of his pontificate that the Holy Spirit is at work in him and surely it is now time for every priest to do as Francis has said which is to put the love and mercy of the Spirit central to everything they do and say.

  3. Dermot Quigley says:

    I renounce Fiducia Supplicans with the same vigour as my parents renounced Satan and his works at my Baptism.

    Let us stick with what has not changed: The Roman Catechism quoting St Paul 1 Cor 6:9-10, states, “Neither Fornicators nor Adulterers nor SODOMITES shall possess the kingdom of God”.

    Irregular Unions is a Euphemism for Living in Sin.

    The Priest should remind couples seeking a blessing of the following teaching from the Roman Catechism, “Nobody Conscious of Mortal Sin is to approach the Holy Eucharist until he has been purified by sacramental confession”.

    The problem with this is that the couple will not have a firm purpose of Amendment when going to confession. Thus they cannot be absolved.

    Deo Gratias, the definition of Marriage is unchanged, “the conjugal union of MAN and WOMAN contracted between two qualified persons, which obliges them to live together throughout life”.

    With all of the Bishop’s Conferences in Africa against Fiducia Supplicans, as well as the Polish and some Dutch Bishops, Fiducia Supplicans will have a trial Canter. Ultimately it is a Horse that won’t run.

    Veritas Domini Manet in Aeternum.

    1. John Connolly says:

      Thank you Dermot. Your message makes sense to me.

  4. Liamy Mac Nally says:

    Ref Comment 4:
    Clobbering the Confusion About 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
    I recently received this question from a reader:

    I’m curious about the verse 1 Corinthians 6:9. My friend and I were studying and noticed that our different versions use different words. He has a KJV and I have a NIV. I have a Strong’s Concordance as well to help.

    In the KJV of 1 Corinthians 6:9 it states that abusers of themselves will not inherit the kingdom. I looked up abusers and it said that abusers are sodomites/homosexuals, however the definition of a sodomite is a male cult member or prostitute. Can you please give me some insight on this confusion?

    The debate about 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 is confusing, and there simply isn’t one decisive answer that resolves all the difficulties in this passage. Let’s take a closer look at some of the issues in these verses.

    1 Corinthians 6:9-10 in the KJV (we’ll get to the NIV momentarily) reads:

    9Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate [μαλακοὶς], nor abusers of themselves with mankind [ἀρσενοκοῖται], 10Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

    When it comes to homosexuality and the Bible, the two key words in this passage are the Greek words μαλακός (malakós) and ἀρσενοκοίτης (arsenokoítēs), which I’ve bolded in the text above.

    μαλακός literally means “soft.” The KJV translates it as “effeminate.” This word was widely used in the ancient world and has a broad range of meanings, including “effeminate.” It appears several other times in the New Testament where it is usually translated as “soft.” But, given that this is just a list without any further context, no one knows for sure exactly what Paul had in mind when he included it in his list of immoral behaviors. It might be referring to weakness of character, or cowardice, or some other moral (but not necessarily sexual) shortcoming.

    ἀρσενοκοίτης, translated in the KJV as “abusers of themselves with mankind,” is a compound word made out of the words “male” (ἄρσην) and “bed” (κοίτης). But, just like English compound words, the parts don’t always equal the whole: ἀρσενοκοίτης doesn’t actually mean “male bed.” So what does it mean?

    Here’s where things get tricky: Paul seems to have made up the word ἀρσενοκοίτης. We don’t have any examples of it being used prior to Paul’s letter to the Corinthians and most of the subsequent usage is merely repeating a similar list of sinful behaviors.

    Because of the uniqueness of this word, even our best translations have to guess what Paul meant. One conjecture is that Paul is referencing the Greek text of Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, where ἄρσην and κοίτης appear in close proximity to each other. But, though that might be a clue about the word’s etymology, it still doesn’t tell us for sure what Paul meant when he used it. The only thing we can be fairly certain of is that ἀρσενοκοίτης is referring to some sort of immoral male sexual behavior.

    Unfortunately, most modern English translations give the appearance of absolute certainty when it comes to translating μαλακός and ἀρσενοκοίτης, making it seem as if it’s a foregone conclusion that Paul is explicitly condemning homosexuality. But scholars continue to debate the precise meanings of these words in these verses and, especially in the case of ἀρσενοκοίτης, it seems that we’ll never know for sure exactly what Paul meant. Theories abound, but certainty eludes us.

    The NIV does a particularly bad job at conveying these issues. Instead of translating the two terms separately, the NIV translators chose to merge μαλακός and ἀρσενοκοίτης together and translate them as “men who have sex with men.” They include a revealing footnote which says “The words men who have sex with men translate two Greek words that refer to the passive and active participants in homosexual acts.”

    The NIV all too conveniently ignores the scholarly uncertainty about these words, making it seem as if the definitions of μαλακός and ἀρσενοκοίτης are clearly referring to homosexuality, a conclusion that is, at best, dubious. Buoyed by agenda-driven translations such as the NIV and ESV, many Christians continue to wield an unfounded certainty about the meaning of these verses in order to condemn and marginalize LGBT people.

    It would be wonderful to arrive at a definitive conclusion about the meaning of this passage, but in the end I don’t think it really matters. Instead, it’s far more important to understand the broader context of what Paul was trying to say in his letters, as well as the message of the entire New Testament. John Shore does a good job of providing some of that context in his essay on the Bible and homosexuality.

    Regardless of what any given translation says, regardless of what a dictionary or concordance tells us and regardless of what many pastors confidently proclaim to be decisively true about this passage, at the end of the day 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 simply gives us a list of vices without exact meanings.

    But even though we don’t know precisely what those words mean, we still have the Bible as a whole to provide us with God’s message — a message that doesn’t hinge upon dictionary definitions of obscure Greek words, but instead centers on God’s love for humanity as embodied by Jesus.
    Dan Wilkinson

    1. Dermot Quigley says:

      The Church interprets the Bible. The fact remains that the Church has always condemned Homosexual Acts.

      In the Rome of Pope Saint Pius V, of Happy and Blessed Memory, gay clergy caught in flagrante Delicto were burnt.

      The Church has ALWAYS taught that the only permissible sexual acts are those between one Man and one woman in the marital embrace.

      I used the Douai Rheims translation in 4 above. Arguing about translations is a way to justify people living in the slime of impurity. I repeat, for 2000, plus years it has been taught de fide, that sexual activity can only occur between one Man and one Woman, licitly and Validly Bound in Holy Matrimony. If Fiducia Supplicans Has changed this, please cite the paragraph.

  5. I am writing from Portugal, for me is really disappointing to see how in Ireland is accepted by priest this attempt to avoid the will of God. God never will bless a homosexual union, God can bless person’s but not a union that is contrary to Thy will. Please come back to the good doctrine and don’t listen this kind of measures. All the sins of the past are the same now, all the sacred things are still sacred.

  6. Joe O'Leary says:

    I once had the temerity to cite to a Cretan this text from the Letter to Titus: “12 One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” 13 This testimony is true.” He replied: “St Paul talked a lot of rubbish!” And in fact Paul himself teaches us a basic lesson in Biblical Hermeneutics: THE LETTER KILLS, THE SPIRIT GIVES LIFE.

    Vatican II dumped 2000 year of mistaken views on Jews, which fed into Hitler’s monstrous crime (as the mistaken views on gays fed into his murder of 10,000 homosexual men) by simple going back to Romans 9-11. Scripture corrects itself and in this case gives examples of blessed same sex love: David and Jonathan, Ruth and Naomi, the Centurion and his Pais. And even if Scripture fails to correct itself (as in the case of multiple divinely sanctioned genocides) it provides the bases for us to think with the aid of the Spirit and with human decency and maturity.

  7. Paddy Ferry says:

    Excellent, Liamy. Thank you.

    I remember a wonderful talk by Fr. James Alison here on Zoom during Covid on understanding the biblical references to homosexuality. I think it would be good to have James again following this new development.

    Thank God for Francis. What happened on March 13th 2013 was truly a miracle.
    I never thought it could happen in my lifetime.
    Francis has said, “We must avoid the temptation to present our faith as an incontestable certainty evident to everyone in appreciation of a God who creates and respects human freedom” — Dermot, please note.
    Also, Dermot, as the late, great Seán Fagan pointed out these ancient teachings originated and evolved in an age of complete ignorance with regard to basic science and social and behavioural science.
    I do feel for you that you seem obsessed with things like “the slime of impurity” – God help you and bless you.

    1. Dermot Quigley says:

      There is no need to personalize this. Let us stay issue focused. I am not obsessed with the Slime of Impurity. It is Merely my Prose Style.

      Impurity logically comes into any discussion on Fiducia Supplicans. I am obsessed with living and adhering to the perennial unchanging binding public revelation of our Church. I will die in that faith. Pope Francis cannot change Divine Revelation. Cardinal Fernandez admits this by saying that the teaching on the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony is unimpacted by FS .

      In his play ‘A man for all Seasons’, Robert Bolt has the Protagonist, St. Thomas More, of Happy and Blessed Memory, say the following:
      “Some say the Earth is Round, others Flat. If the Earth be round, will the King’s command make it flat? If flat. Will the King’s command make it round?”

      The same thing applies to not just our current Holy Father, but to ALL Popes regarding Divine Revelation.

      Divine Revelation, such as the official teaching of the Church that sexual acts between one Man and one Woman, licitly bound by the Sacrament of Matrimony, is the ONLY permissible sexual activity for a Roman Catholic are
      unchangeable. You adduce Sean Fagan. He commits error no.5 on Pope Pius IX’s Syllabus of errors, namely that Divine Revelation is imperfect and evolves. I have Faith in the teaching of Pius IX: I have none in that of Sean Fagan.

  8. Jo O'Sullivan says:

    What saddens me greatly is the utter certainty of Dermot and Adrián that they KNOW the will of God. I fear no entreaty to consider different possibilities of interpretation will ever penetrate that certainty. And there are many such people in every parish. As a counter-balance to that, I want to share that it gives me great hope that, in our parish here, we are establishing a new group to discern how best to foster inclusiveness and welcome to our LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters and their families.
    I pray that many more parishes start to openly welcome and include those for whom Natural Law dictates that their loving, intimate relationships are with people of the same sex.
    By the way, I’d love to hear of other parishes who are reaching out in this way.

  9. Sean O'Conaill says:

    Courtesy of Kris Kristofferson – who nails it in ‘Jesus Was a Capricorn’

    Jesus was a Capricorn
    He ate organic food
    He believed in love and peace
    And never wore no shoes

    Long hair, beard and sandles
    And a funky bunch of friends
    Reckon we’d just nail him up
    If he came down again

    ‘Cause everybody’s gotta have somebody to look down on
    Prove they can be better than at any time they choose
    Someone doin’ somethin’ dirty decent folks can frown on
    If you can’t find nobody else, then help yourself to me

    Eggheads fussin’ rednecks cussin’
    Hippies for their hair
    Others laugh at straights who laugh at
    Freaks who laugh at squares

    Some folks hate the Whites
    Who hate the Blacks who hate the Klan
    Most of us hate anything that
    We don’t understand

  10. Paddy Ferry says:

    Dermot, I do intend to reply fully to your most recent comment but I do think that tonight, as we prepare for Mid Night Mass, is not the best time to engage further with the issues you seem to be obsessed with.
    I would like to wish Liamy, all my fellow contributors and all our readers a very Happy Christmas and every good wish for 2024.

  11. Paddy Ferry says:

    With all due respect, Dermot you are the one who has personalised this issue by directing what I can only describe as vile bigotry towards boys and girls and men and women who happen to have a homosexual orientation. And, trying to use your “particular style of prose” as an excuse will just not do. You are obviously a very frustrated, unhappy man and I am wondering why.

    You talk about Divine Revelation and the Church interpreting the Bible. You must be aware of the serious errors on the part of the Church over the centuries.

    Take for example, the very idea of Biblical Inerrancy itself. You are surely aware that that is no longer tenable.

    And, let’s take another example, the Inquisition. This was administered by the Dominicans but on behalf of the papacy. So, from the thirteenth century on, Gregory IX, I think, eighty successive popes right up to 1870, proved to be the sworn enemies of the most basic form of elementary justice. Not one of them disapproved of the theology and apparatus of Inquisition. On the contrary, one after another added his own cruel touches to the workings of this deadly machine. And, I expect, Dermot that you would claim that they were all infallible long before 1871.

    I sense a certain lack of scholarship and research in your contributions.

    Now, Seán Fagan was a great scholar, very well read, very well researched and very well respected. I would recommend to you his wonderful book “What Happened to Sin”.

    I am not sure if it is still in print but Pádraig McCarthy could advise as to how you may access it.

    You accuse Fr. Seán of committing error no.5 on Pope Pius IX’s Syllabus of Errors ( I thought Paul VI had dumped the whole thing ) namely that Divine Revelation is imperfect and evolves.

    Surely the man who did most to explore how doctrine evolves was John Henry, Cardinal Newman ( and he is now a saint ) in his essay On the Development of Christian Doctrine which I have just completed reading, through great perseverance, a few weeks ago.

    As a young, innocent lad growing up in the Rosses in West Donegal. one of the basic tenets of the faith that I was taught was that we are all made in the image and likeness of God.

    I take that to mean the 90% of us, approximately, who are heterosexual and the 10% , approximately who are homosexual.

    So, I obviously believe that our Church’s teaching on homosexuality is unacceptable, to say the least. And, I believe, it is one reason why so many young people turn away from the Church. I have three children, Dermot, two girls and a boy. They are all now making their way successfully in life. The two girls are high achieving, university educated young women in their early thirties. The were brought up with the sacraments of childhood, became altar servers, progressed to the music ministry and then in the mid to late teens there was a change. You would expect that their main issue would be gender equality or the lack of it in our Church. But it wasn’t. They had friends, boys and girls, young men and women, who were homosexual and lesbian and they thought our Church’s denigration of their friends–“intrinsically disordered …. with more or less a strong tendency towards an intrinsic moral evil …” was outrageous and it is. Now they haven’t lost their faith in God –they will be going with us to Mid Night Mass tonight — but they have lost patience with our Church. I obviously would not share your diatribe with them !

    I am sure you are aware of the research of the late Richard Sipe and the late Donald Cozzens with regard to homosexuality in the priesthood.
    I am absolutely fine with that.

    However, other scholarly research has shown up a certain hypocrisy that I am not fine with.

    I mentioned Fr. James Alison above. Fr. James is a scholar priest who is gay and he does not hide the fact. He was suspended for that very reason and then had that famous phone call from Pope Francis.

    James has done extensive research into homosexuality in the priesthood and he found that the most vitriolic homophobes in the priesthood are to be found among priests who are themselves gay.

    Now, I do find that kind of hypocrisy very hard to process and deal with.

    There is a school of thought that suggests that such bitterly homophobic priests who are themselves gay actually suffer from a deep seated self hatred.

    Such a sad state of affairs. God help them.

    This was also the finding of Frédéric Martel when researching his famous book on homosexuality in the Vatican. He also found that some of those in clerical positions in the Vatican who were gay men were the most bitter homophobes , the outrageous Cardinal López Trujillo being a prime example. I have yet to read Martel’s book. When some of my friends over here in Scotland who have read it ask me why I haven’t, I always reply that we, Irish, do not need to as Paddy Agnew, long term Irish Times’ man in Rome, famously told us many years ago –and long before Frédéric Martel’s research — that there are more homosexuals per square inch in the Vatican than anywhere in the world.

    I will end by sending you my very best wishes for 2024, Dermot and my hope that you will learn to cope with whatever demons are so torturing you through your faith in a loving God who loves us all equally.

  12. Dermot Quigley says:

    What it boils down to Paddy is that I fully embrace the Divinely revealed teaching of the Church on Homosexuality and you do not. As a Man whose Cancer is active after a long unexpected period of Remission, I will stand before the Divine judgement seat shortly. I was brought up on the Catechism of Pope St Pius V and will die professing it.

    I have a PhD in Civil Engineering: I don’t consider myself lacking in Scholarship.

    I am not an unhappy man. My Career in Civil engineering has brought me to places as diverse as Malawi, Senegal and Iceland. I have passed on the Faith I was given, to my two Daughters.

    I wish you Ad Multos Annos.

  13. Joe O'Leary says:

    Paddy, congrats on your zinger of a letter, all of which I warmly agree with.

    There is a wonderful chapter in Martel’s book, “Stazione Termini,” where he interviews young Muslims who service Vatican clerics. One says, “the nice thing about priests is that they always fall in love with you.”

    When the best moral theologian here in Japan went back to the top Jesuit university in Madrid for an honoured retirement, he said in an interview: “After decades in Japan, I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry when I hear our bishops going on about condoms.” As a result of that he was fired, thanks to Trujillo and the archbishop of Madrid. Now we know that Trujillo absolutely loved SM with male prostitutes and whipped them viciously! You could not make it up!

    Stable gay and lesbian couples may still be rare, thanks to the monstrous attitudes which the church played such a major role in creating and reinforcing. (See Mark Jordan, The Invention of Sodomy in Christian Theology, who highlights the role of Peter Damian, Doctor of the Church, one of the heroes of reactionary Catholics today.) But they are a moral lodestar to us erring clergy.

    It is wonderful that Newman’s Essay on Development remains so seminal. It come from the middle of the century that gave us Evolution. He struggled with the controversy between Denis Petau, SJ, and Anglican bishop Bull, about the contradiction between the subordinationism of the early Fathers such as Tertullian and Origen and Nicea’s full affirmation of the Son’s Divinity in 325. The theory of Development is his solution.

    The blessing of gay couples is the mildest of developments, within Pastoral rather than Dogmatic theology. Hardly a development at all. I know of Irish priests who apply the blessing as just a matter of common sense.

    Why does it rouse such a furore? Simply because of the massive injection of poisonous homophobia into the Catholic mind.

  14. Paddy Ferry says:

    Dermot, I am truly sorry to hear this news. I will now remember you in my prayers as I am sure our fellow contributors and readers will too.
    This, I think, is unprecedented for us on this site.
    Dermot, thank you for sharing it with us and God bless you.

  15. Peadar O'Callaghan says:

    30 December 2023
    Pardon me, and taking account, with due respect, to all that has been confided in above ‘comments’ and before year’s end it might be worthwhile recalling the sixtieth anniversary of the March on Washington for Freedom and Jobs in August 1963 at which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his memorable address ‘I Have a Dream’.

    The organisation of the march was the responsibility of Bayard Rustin whose own commitment as a civil rights activist to non-violence had an early and lasting influence on King. (see: The Life of Martin Luther King by Jonathan Eig, 2023)
    Ten years earlier (1953), Rustin was arrested in Pasadena, California, for having consensual sex with two white men. He served 50 days in jail and was registered as a sex offender.

    In February 2020 Rustin was posthumously pardoned by California Governor Gavin Newsom. Rustin’s posthumous pardon was largely thanks to the efforts of Scott Wiener, chair of the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus, and Shirley Weber, chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus. At the time Weber said, “Rustin was a great American who was both gay and black at a time when the sheer fact of being either or both could land you in jail.” Newsom noted that police and prosecutors nationwide at the time used charges like vagrancy, loitering and sodomy to punish lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people.

    Only in recent years after almost been written out of the narrative of the civil rights struggle has Rustin’s memory been resurrected.
    President Barack Obama honoured him posthumously with a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013 for the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.

    Thank God Almighty for prophets like Rustin, and those of his generation of activists and writers, who opened barred doors to a new generation of prophets: like Robert Jones, Jr. and the Vietnamese-American, Ocean Vuong (and so many more) to find their voices (see: The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr. and the Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, 2019)
    Sweet dreams for 2024.

  16. Richard O'Donnell says:

    The older I get, the more I realise that there is nothing as confident as ignorance except confidently knowing the absolute and unconditional love of God.

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