“We formally forbid all blessings of homosexual couples”: Catholic Bishops in Cameroon

Pope Francis with members of the National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon (NECC). Credit: Vatican Media

Catholic Bishops in Cameroon have added their voice to other Catholic Church leaders, who have prohibited the implementation of Fiducia Supplicans in their Episcopal Sees and territories they govern.

In a statement, members of the National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon (NECC) weigh in on the document that the Vatican Dicastery for the Doctrine of Faith (DDF) released on December 18 permitting the blessing of “same-sex couples” and couples in other “irregular situations”.

NECC members take the stance that their counterparts in Malawi and Zambia have taken, barring members of the Clergy from imparting blessings upon “homosexual couples”, and term the DDF directive that such blessings be nonliturgical as “hypocritical”.

“We, the Bishops of Cameroon, reiterate our disapproval of homosexuality and homosexual unions,” they say, and go on to issue their directive, “Consequently, we formally forbid all blessings of ‘homosexual couples’ in the Church of Cameroon.”

In their two-page nine-point statement dated December 21, which NECC President, Archbishop Andrew Fuanya Nkea of Bamenda Archdiocese, signed, Catholic Bishops in Cameroon say, “Differentiating between liturgical and non-liturgical contexts in order to apply the blessing to same sex ‘couples’ is hypocritical.”


They explain, “The act of blessing, whether performed in a liturgical assembly or in private, remains a blessing.”

“We therefore declare non-compliant any form of blessing, public or private, that tends to recognize ‘same-sex couples’ as a state of life,” Catholic Bishops in Cameroon say, and to on to highlight and explain the basis of their stance and directive.

“Literally, ‘To bless is to speak well of’. And to ‘speak well of’ in order to gain grace through the gesture of blessing a ‘homosexual couple’ would be tantamount to encouraging a choice and a practice of life that cannot be recognised as being objectively ordered to the revealed designs of God,” they explain.

Fiducia has elicited “semantic abuses designed to distort the value of realities and the true meaning of the notions of family, couple, spouse, sexuality and marriage,” they say at the beginning of their collective statement.

The directive to bar the possible blessing of “homosexual couples” in Cameroon is aimed at addressing the “wave of indignation, questioning and concern that the Declaration ‘Fiducia supplicans’ on the question of the blessing of same-sex couples has aroused among the people of God,” NECC members add.

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The collective and “unanimous” decision to prohibit the implementation of Fiducia Supplicans in Cameroon, the Catholic Church leaders say, is “for the sake of human dignity and the salvation of all humanity in Jesus Christ”. 

Directing the Clergy in Cameroon not to impart blessings upon “homosexual couples”, NECC members say, conforms to their “2013 Declaration on Homosexuality” in which they say they “strongly” reaffirmed “the truth of the Church, Mother and Educator, which teaches the sacredness of the sexual identity of man and woman created in the image of God.” 

“The human person is created male and female,” the Catholic Church leaders say referencing Genesis, and add, “This invariable difference, which is the foundation of their relationship and their complementarity, is fulfilled in the bonds of marriage.”

NECC members direct against blessing “homosexual couples” because “homosexuality falsifies and corrupts human anthropology and trivialises sexuality, marriage and the family, the foundations of society,” they say.

The Catholic Bishops continue, “ln the African culture, this practice (homosexuality) is not part of family and social values. lt is a flagrant violation of the heritage bequeathed to us by our ancestors.” 


“ln the history of peoples, the practice of homosexuality has never led to societal evolution, but is a clear sign of the imploding decadence of civilizations. ln fact, homosexuality sets humanity against itself and destroys it,” Catholic Bishops in Cameroon emphasize.

They also argue that “homosexuality is not a human right,” and explain that homosexuality “is an alienation that seriously harms humanity because it is not based on any value proper to the human being: it is a dehumanization of love.

Making reference to Leviticus 18:22, they describe the practice of homosexuality as "an abomination".

Rejecting the imparting of blessings upon “homosexual couples”, they say, “is in no way being discriminative: it is a legitimate protection of the constant values of humanity in the face of a vice that has become the subject of a claim to legal recognition and, today, the subject of a blessing.”

In forbidding the implementation of Fiducia Supplicans in Cameroon, NECC members say that they are being “faithful to the constant teaching of Ecclesial Tradition which declares acts of homosexuality intrinsically disordered and contrary to the natural law” and cite the Cafechism of the Catholic Church, 2357.

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“Since God does not want the death of the sinner, but his/her conversion to eternal life, we recommend those who are inclined to homosexuality to the prayers and compassion of the Church, with a view to their radical conversion,” Catholic Bishops in Cameroon say.

They add in reference to persons with homosexual tendencies, “We also invite them to turn away from their mentality of victimization in which they take pleasure in considering themselves as ‘victims’, ‘weak’, ‘minorities’; in order to seize the opportunity for conversion that God gives them in the many exhortations of His Word.”

Fiducia Supplicans  has elicited mixed reactions and deep division among Catholic Bishops around the globe.

In Kenya, the Local Ordinary of the Catholic Archdiocese of Nairobi, Archbishop Philip Anyolo has barred the implementation of the Vatican document days after members of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) expressed their support for it.

The leadership of the Symposium of Episcopal Conference of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) has initiated consultations across the continent in view of issuing a “single synodal pronouncement” on Fiducia Supplicans.

Fr. Don Bosco Onyalla is ACI Africa’s founding Editor-in-Chief. He was formed in the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers (Spiritans), and later incardinated in Rumbek Diocese, South Sudan. He has a PhD in Media Studies from Daystar University in Kenya, and a Master’s degree in Organizational Communication from Marist College, New York, USA.