A Catholic diocese in Italy has described a priest’s refusal to bless palms on Sunday because of the Vatican’s rejection of blessings for same-sex unions as “reprehensible.”
The Diocese of Spezia-Sarzana-Brugnato said that the matter was being addressed according to Church norms.
Fr. Giulio Mignani, a priest in the north-western Italian diocese, made headlines after he refused to bless palm branches at a Palm Sunday Mass in protest of the Vatican’s document clarifying that the Catholic Church does not have the power to bless same-sex unions.
The document, a “responsum ad dubium,” was issued with Pope Francis’ approval by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) on March 15. The CDF explained its reasoning in a note and accompanying commentary.
The 50-year-old Mignani, pastor of Santa Caterina Parish in Bonassola, said during his homily March 28, “if I can’t bless same-sex couples, then I won’t bless palms and olive branches either,” according to local newspaper La Nazione.
The diocese condemned Mignani’s actions in a March 29 press release, which said that “the matter is being assessed in the appropriate forums, in accordance with current canonical norms.”
The diocesan called it “reprehensible to omit or perform a liturgical gesture by linking it to a personal protest,” and even more so if directed against a declaration by the CDF published with the consent of the pope.
In its statement, the diocese also invited people to carefully read the entire CDF responsum, which “expresses in an understandable way, with respect, composure and truth, why the Church does not possess, and cannot possess, the power to bless such unions.”
“In spite of various interventions made personally by the Bishop in recent years and the statements issued to reiterate the official position of the Church to the faithful, in the face of Fr. Giulio Mignani’s remarks on matters of faith and morals, it is with sorrow that we must note what occurred again last Palm Sunday in the parishes entrusted to him,” the diocese said.
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