Chicago priest blesses same-sex ‘spouses,’ says Fiducia Supplicans allows it

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A priest in Chicago last month blessed a same-sex couple, saying that the Vatican’s recent document Fiducia Supplicans authorized such blessings. 

Father Joseph Williams, the pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Parish near downtown Chicago, is seen in an April 22 video shared on Instagram by Kelli Knight, a Methodist minister and self-identified “queer” community organizer. 

In the video, Williams is seen in the parish with Kelli and Myah Knight. “Myah always wanted to get married at the chapel of her alma mater, so I surprised her with a blessing of our marriage!” Kelli wrote in the post. The parish is affiliated with the Catholic DePaul University in Chicago. 

In the video, Williams can be seen asking the couple: “Kelli and Myah, do you freely recommit yourselves to love each other as holy spouses and to live in peace and harmony together forever?” The two women respond, “I do.”

“Loving God, increase and consecrate the love which Kelly and Myah have for one another,” the pastor then says. “The rings that they have exchanged are the sign of their fidelity and commitment.” 

“May they continue to prosper in your grace and blessing,” he added. 

“May God’s blessing be yours, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen,” the priest finished. 

Neither the priest nor the Archdiocese of Chicago immediately responded to requests for comment from CNA on Friday morning. The pastor told OSV News that his understanding of Fiducia Supplicans is that “same-sex couples can be blessed as long as it does not reflect a marriage situation … as long as it’s clear that it’s not a marriage.”

He reportedly told Knight when she first inquired about the blessing: “Please understand that this is not in any way a marriage, a wedding, anything like that. This is just simply a blessing of persons.”

Fiducia Supplicans has generated global controversy since it was first promulgated last December. The Vatican at the time directed that Catholic priests can bless same-sex couples as an expression of pastoral closeness without condoning their sexual relations. 

Bishops around the world in the subsequent months have been deeply divided over the declaration. Some prelates have responded warmly to the directive, while others have said they will not implement the practice.

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