“For the time being, I must tell you that I don’t believe that there isn’t something good in this German ‘movement,’” he said.
“Cardinal Ladaria once told me that he wished there were some heretic who would force us to deepen our faith," he elaborated. "This historical question will leave us with something good, even if it may be necessary to polish things, to clarify them, to mature them.”
In response to a question about whether he agreed with the Dicastery for the Doctrine of Faith’s 2021 declaration that the Church cannot bless same-sex unions, Fernández said that if a blessing can be given in a way “that does not cause confusion,” it will have to “be analyzed.”
“Look, just as I am firmly against abortion … I also understand that ‘marriage’ in the strict sense is only one thing: that stable union of two beings as different as male and female who in that difference are capable of engendering new life,” he said.
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“There is nothing that can be compared to that and to use that name to express something else is neither good nor right,” he said. “At the same time, I believe that we must avoid gestures or actions that could express something different. That is why I think that the greatest care to be taken is to avoid rites or blessings that could feed that confusion.”
“Now, if a blessing is given in such a way that it does not cause that confusion, it will have to be analyzed and confirmed,” he added.
“As you will see, there is a point where we leave a properly theological discussion and move on to a question that is rather prudential or disciplinary.”
‘The Art of Kissing’
Fernández said that he did not regret publishing the book he wrote as a priest in the mid-1990s called “Heal Me With Your Mouth: The Art of Kissing.”
“It was not a theology manual, it was a pastoral attempt that I will never regret,” Fernández said, before noting that he had asked the publisher not to reprint it.
The Argentine archbishop said that he wrote the book out of concern for young people who struggled to explain to their peers why premarital sex should be avoided. He added that kissing was “an example of one of those expressions of affection that can occur without the need for sex.”
“Don't you think it is bad form to take that little book, to use single phrases from that youthful pastoral booklet to judge me as a theologian?” Fernández said.
Courtney Mares is a Rome Correspondent for Catholic News Agency. A graduate of Harvard University, she has reported from news bureaus on three continents and was awarded the Gardner Fellowship for her work with North Korean refugees.