Prot. BA 23/326 ENG
December 22, 2023, in the year of God
COMMUNIQUE regarding the reception in the UGCC of the declaration of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith “FIDUCIA SUPPLICANS” on the pastoral significance of blessings
In response to numerous requests from bishops, clergy, monastics, church movements and individual laypersons of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church regarding the Declaration of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith “Fiducia Supplicans” (December 18, 2023) on the pastoral sense of blessings, after consultations with relevant experts and competent institutions, I would like to bring to your attention the following:
1. The afore-mentioned Declaration interprets the pastoral meaning of blessings in the Latin Church, and not in the Eastern Catholic Churches. It does not address questions of Catholic faith or morals, does not provide any precepts according to the Code of Canons for the Eastern Churches, and does not mention Eastern Christians. Therefore, on the basis of canon. 1492 of the CCEO, this Declaration applies solely to the Latin Church and has no legal force for the faithful of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church.
2. The Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church is one of the Eastern Catholic Churches, therefore it has its own liturgical, theological, canonical and spiritual heritage, which all the faithful are obliged to observe and which they are called to foster (CCEO, canons 39-41). The meaning of the concept of “blessing” in the UGCC is different from that of the Latin Church.
3. According to the liturgical practice of our Church, the blessing of a priest or bishop is a liturgical gesture that cannot be separated from the rest of the content of liturgical rites and reduced only to the circumstances and needs of private piety (Catechism of the UGCC Christ – our Pascha, paragraphs 505-509).
4. According to the traditions of the Byzantine rite, the concept of “blessing” means approval, permission or even instruction regarding certain types of actions, ascetical practices, in particular, certain types of fasting and prayer. It is obvious that a blessing from a priest always has an evangelistic and catechetical dimension, therefore it cannot in any way contradict the teaching of the Catholic Church about the family as a faithful, indissoluble, and fruitful union of love between a man and a woman, which our Lord Jesus Christ raised to the dignity of Holy Mystery (Sacrament) of Marriage. Pastoral prudence prompts us to avoid ambiguous gestures, statements and concepts that would contort or distort the word of God and the teachings of the Church.
The blessing of the Lord be upon you!