Members Of The Synod Of The Coptic Church, Led By Tawadros II Photo: Religion Digital

“Gay Blessings”: Twenty Years of Ecumenism Lost; Copts Suspend Theological Dialogue with the Catholic Church

Faced with “gay blessings”, Coptic-Orthodox decide to suspend the theological dialogue with the Catholic Church, reevaluate the results obtained by the dialogue since its beginning twenty years ago and establish new norms and mechanisms so that the dialogue continues in the future

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(ZENIT News / Rome, 10.03.2024).- As a result of the Declaration Fiducia Supplicans, the Coptic Orthodox Church, Egypt’s main Christian community, has suspended the ecumenical dialogue with the Catholic Church. The Declaration allows “pastoral blessings” to couples in irregular situations, such as the divorced and remarried and, more controversially, homosexual couples.

The decision was made known at the end of the General Assembly of the Coptic Orthodox Church (SICO), held on March 7 in Wadi El-Natrum, Egypt. The Assembly was presided over by Pope Tawadros II, Head of that Orthodox Church.

Committees of SICO held meetings three days before the Assembly, to discuss reports and present recommendations. One of the topics addressed was homosexuality and, specifically, the Declaration Fiducia Supplicans of the Catholic Church’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Among the nine Decrees issued, number 6 in particular states:

“After consulting the sister Churches of the Eastern Orthodox Family, it was decided to suspend the theological dialogue with the Catholic Church, re-evaluate the results obtained by the dialogue since the beginning twenty years ago and establish new norms and mechanisms for the dialogue to continue in the future.”

One of SICO’s recommendations states:

“The Coptic Orthodox Church states its firm position of rejection of all forms of homosexual relationships, because they violate Sacred Scripture and the law by which God created man as man and woman, and the Church considers that any blessing of such relationships, of whatever kind, is a blessing of sin and this is unacceptable.”

Finally, in regard to homosexuality, SICO issued an eight-paragraph Declaration, stating among other things:

“(. . . ) The Coptic Orthodox Church rejects what is called sexual perversion in its general and integral understanding, and all forms of sexual practices outside the sacred framework of marriage. She rejects categorically invoking the idea of the different cultures to justify relationships between same-sex persons within what is called “absolute human freedom,” which causes the destruction of humanity. The Church  — while affirming at the same time her total belief in [personal] human rights and freedom, also affirms that the freedom of creation is not absolute to the point of transgressing and breaking the laws of the Creator.

The Church also affirms her adherence to her pastoral role to help her children suffering homosexual tendencies, as well as not to reject them but to give them support and assistance so that they obtain psychological and spiritual healing, putting their trust in her Christ, the Holy One, who is able to heal, change and develop in ways beyond what we ask or imagine.”

With this positioning, now two of the Orthodox communities have established their position vis-à-vis Fiducia Supplicans. Last February 20, the Russian Orthodox Church, the most numerous Orthodox denomination, described Fiducia Supplicans as moving away from Christian moral teaching. Weeks earlier, on January 17, Cardinal Kurt Koch, Prefect of the Dicastery for Christian Unity , said that the Declaration had caused ecumenical problems.

The Coptic Orthodox was one of the Christian communities closest to the Catholic Church, although not in communion with the Pontiff. On Sunday, May 14, Pope Tawadros was allowed to celebrate Mass in Rome’s Cathedral.  The previous Wednesday, he co-presided over the General Audience with the Holy Father in Saint Peter’s Square. In one of the most significant gestures, both communities inscribed on the Catalogue of Martyrs, the Coptic Orthodox martyrs killed in Libya in 2015.

The main source of the different quotations was the Website of the Coptic Orthodox Church.

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Jorge Enrique Mújica

Licenciado en filosofía por el Ateneo Pontificio Regina Apostolorum, de Roma, y “veterano” colaborador de medios impresos y digitales sobre argumentos religiosos y de comunicación. En la cuenta de Twitter:, habla de Dios e internet y Church and media: evangelidigitalización."

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