Catholic Bishops in Kenya Defend Fiducia Supplicans, Say Not Endorsing Same-sex Marriages

Members of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB). Credit: KCCB

Catholic Bishops in Kenya have defended Fiducia Supplicans, the Vatican declaration on the possibility of blessing “same-sex couples” and couples in other “irregular situations”, which the Dicastery for the Doctrine of Faith (DDF) released on Monday, December 18.

In a three-page statement dated Wednesday, December 20, members of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) say they “seek in a brief way to explain and clarify the meaning of this document and intention of the Holy Father Pope Francis.”

“This declaration does not in any way approve of ‘Same-sex Marriages’ nor try to give a back-door recognition of such a union. It does not seek an alternative ‘union blessing’ to substitute a Sacramental marriage,” KCCB members say.

They add, “This Document does not change in any way the understanding of Marriage as a Sacrament in the Church, an indissoluble union between a man and a woman, for life.”

“The social situation of Same-sex marriages does not find acceptance in our culture,” Catholic Bishops in Kenya say in the statement that their chairman, Archbishop Martin Kivuva Musonde of Mombasa Archdiocese, signed, adding that Fiducia Supplicans explains the scope of blessings, including “simple blessings that are not given in a liturgical setting.”


“In blessing persons, we do not bless the immoral actions they may perform, but hope that the blessing and prayers offered over them as human persons will provoke them to conversion and to return to the ways of the Lord,” KCCB members say.

Therefore, they continue, “the request for blessings is on a personal basis, and not in any way a blessing upon a style of life or sinful actions in their lives.”

“We know that often, even in our own African Culture, a Father or Mother can give a blessing to their children. This also applies to Christian parents who can give a blessing to their children without any reference of their conditions or circumstances. This is understood as an invocation to God to look upon them and their needs,” Catholic Bishops in Kenya explain.

Fiducia Supplicans, they continue, seeks “to awaken the invitation of all people to God's action and grace.”

“The Church seeks to reach out to all individuals, in order to stir them to the path of conversion and salvation,” KCCB members further say, adding that the Vatican declaration recognizes that blessings from the Church or a church minister are available for “all irrespective of their moral life or faith condition.”

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“The Church does not withhold a blessing to an individual who seeks it with an attitude of truth and faith. This blessing can be given even to non-Catholics, or non-Christians who honestly wish to receive God's blessing,” they say.

They continue, “We encourage especially the understanding of blessings as a gesture of humble submission to God and His ways, while recognizing our own sinfulness and need for conversion and of Salvation.”

“The work of the Church is to gather the scattered, recover the lost, and redirect all sinners back to the fount salvation and of eternal life, and that is Jesus Christ our Saviour,” KCCB members say.

They also say that “no blessing can be understood outside the context of God's Will, and the Salvation and invitation to Communion with God. This way of grace and salvation is contained in the person of Jesus Christ.”

Meanwhile, in Malawi and Zambia, Catholic Bishops have prohibited the implementation of Fiducia Supplicans.


“We direct that for pastoral reasons, blessings of any kind and for same sex unions of any kind, are not permitted in Malawi,” members of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) say in their December 19 statement.

Their counterparts in Zambia say that they take Fiducia Supplicans “as for further reflection and not for implementation in Zambia.”

The decision, members of the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) explain in their December 20 statement, is informed by the need “to avoid any pastoral confusion and ambiguity as well as not to break the law of our country which forbids same-sex unions and activities, and while listening to our cultural heritage which does not accept same-sex relationships.”

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.