Fiducia Supplicans Response

The British Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, responding to widespread confusion over Catholic doctrine on same-sex unions and sexual behaviour outside of marriage, feel impelled to re-assert the traditional teaching of the Catholic Church (from the Catechism of the Catholic Church) which remains unchanged and unchangeable:

Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2357) 

Carnal union is morally legitimate only when a definitive community of life between a man and woman has been established (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2391) 

It is in this context that we must assess the recent document Fiducia Supplicans – which proposes a call for discernment which may lead to bestowing blessings on those in same-sex or unmarried unions. We note the noble pastoral desire to assist people to move forward by renewal of life and the call to conversion, building on all aspects of natural good will and virtue. Nevertheless, we see no situation in which such a blessing of a couple could be properly and adequately distinguished from some level of approval. Thus, it would inevitably lead to scandal – to the individuals concerned- to those involved directly or indirectly in the blessing – or to the minister himself. Furthermore, we fear that the practice of these blessings would confuse the faithful over the actual theology of marriage and human sexuality.  Indeed, from the comments in the media over the past few days, and from concerns passed on to us by the faithful, we can already see such misunderstandings. We believe that genuine charity always follows true doctrine and that such blessings would work against the legitimate care a priest owes to his flock. With honest parresia and from our own experience as pastors we conclude that such blessings are pastorally and practically inadmissible.

Objects of the Confraternity

Fidelity to Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, the Magisterium, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the authoritative teaching of the Holy Father, in service of the People of God, and particularly the New Evangelization.

Formation in human, spiritual, doctrinal and pastoral aspects of the Priesthood, and assistance in the Priestly ministry of teaching, sanctifying and governing.

Fraternity in mutual support and encouragement of Priestly life and ideals by conferences, study, Retreats and publications.


St-Jean Vianney, Curé d’Ars

About Us

* St Paul of the Cross prayed for the conversion of England and founded the Passionists, whose Blessed Dominic Barbari greatly influenced Blessed John Henry Newman, and Received him into the Church. The British Province of the Confraternity was founded in direct response to Pope Benedict’s ‘Year for Priests’, his State Visit to Britain, and his Beatification of Blessed John Henry Newman.

In response to Pope Benedict XVI’s ‘Year for Priests’, and on the Memoria of St Paul of the Cross* (19th October 2010), Priests of various southern dioceses, with the good wishes and encouragement of others from elsewhere in Britain, voted unanimously to found the British Province of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy for the sanctification and support of Priests, and in promotion of authentic Priestly life, holiness and mission by

Fidelity – Formation – Fraternity
“Anchor Your Priesthood
in Your Relationship with Christ.”
Pope Francis

“Without the Sacrament of Holy Orders, we would not have the Lord.
Who put Him there in that tabernacle? The priest.
Who welcomed your soul at the beginning of your life? The priest.
Who feeds your soul and gives it strength for its journey? The priest.
Who will prepare it to appear before God, bathing it one last time in the blood of Jesus Christ? The priest, always the priest.
And if this soul should happen to die [as a result of sin], who will raise it up, who will restore its calm and peace? Again, the priest. …
After God, the priest is everything! … Only in heaven will he fully realize what he is.”

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

Events and News
Statement of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy concerning marriage and family life

In recent days, following the release of excerpts from the documentary ‘Francesco’, there has been much discussion – and confusion – concerning the position of the Catholic Church regarding the legalisation of same-sex unions and the adoption of children by same-sex couples. In this context, the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy – representing over 500 priests in Great Britain and with members throughout the world – desires to reassert its commitment to authentic Catholic teaching on human sexuality and the family.

First, it is important to state that pastoral charity demands sensitivity to all, and no unjust discrimination towards individuals with same-sex attraction (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church 2357). The same charity, however, demands that the Church and society discourage same-sex activity, and the normalisation of same-sex relationships, as harmful to individuals and damaging to marriage. The Church’s official teaching on these matters is clearly expressed in the document of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Considerations Regarding Proposals to give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Per-sons.(CDF 2003). Here we read: ‘The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behaviour or to legal recognition of homosexual unions’ (CDF 2003, 11).

The Church has an obligation not only to protect Christian marriage but also to support the Natural Law which is valid for all people at all times. Thus, the Church has a duty to uphold monogamous Marriage between the two sexes, open to life and built on love, as the foundation of society. The promotion of civil same-sex unions would ‘not promote the common good’ and ‘there is a real danger that the deeply rooted understanding of marriage as a permanent and exclusive relationship between a woman and a man, and as the best con-text for raising children, will be eroded’ (Catholic Bishops of England and Wales, Statement on Civil Partnerships, 2005)

The reality of the natural family, founded on the union of man and wife, holds a unique position and is alone in deserving state encouragement. While for a variety of reasons children may sometimes find themselves without one of both of their parents, and in such situations deserve the utmost support and loving care, a good society should not seek to generate situations where the complementarity of male and female parents is absent. Such an endeavour is particularly harmful and therefore immoral. (cf. CDF 2003, 7).

St John Paul II wrote extensively on these matters and commented that ‘civilisation passes by way of the family’. It is the duty of the clergy, the faithful and indeed all people of good will, to speak the truth about marriage and human sexuality and to resist all attempts to undermine, dilute or derail their importance. ‘The Church cannot fail to defend these values, for the good of men and women and for the good of society itself’ (CDF 2003, 11).

It is also necessary for pastors of souls – again following the example of St John Paul II – to speak clearly and unambiguously when dealing with these often difficult and controversial subjects, in order that faith be strengthened and confusion avoided.

Statement regarding the teaching of Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) in Catholic Schools

The Confraternity of Catholic Clergy represents over 500 British priests and deacons, the vast majority of whom are involved in Catholic education, whether as school governors, chaplains or parish priests. We wish to express grave concerns about the government’s decision to make SRE a compulsory part of the school curriculum, and the Catholic response to this so far.

Parents are the principal educators of their children and their right to teach their own children about matters of human intimacy and relationships must be maintained. The right to withdraw children from lessons parents judge to be age inappropriate, insufficiently tailored to their child’s unique needs or against their own legitimate religious beliefs must be held as an unassailable principle. Efforts should be made to maximise parental involvement and partnership in delivering good education in these matters.

It is of course very important that children and young Catholics should learn to live out their faith in the world as it is today, with all its challenges. As such, it is right and proper that they learn – at the appropriate age, and not before – about the existence of the various relationships and family structures common in today’s society, even where these differ from our own Catholic understanding. It is also essential that they are taught that all people – even when they make the wrong decisions or hold a different vision of life – must be treated with dignity and respect. This is a fundamental aspect of our Catholic faith.

However, learning about the existence of these alternative lifestyles cannot be equated with ‘celebrating’ them or ‘agreeing’ with them, as if they were on a par with the manner of life mapped out for us by Scripture and Tradition. Catholic teaching is clear – the only proper place for sexual relations is in the lifelong marriage of a man and a woman, entered into for their mutual wellbeing and open to the gift of children. Any sexual relationship other than this is contrary to the will of our Creator. It is of fundamental importance that young Catholics have a robust understanding of the Catholic teaching on marriage and family before they begin to learn about alternative relationships, otherwise their faith will be undermined, and great harm done. They must also be equipped to say not only ‘what’ Catholics believe but ‘why’ Catholics disagree with certain views and lifestyles.

Because this is such an important and sensitive subject, it is essential that any teaching materials used in Catholic schools are completely faithful to Catholic doctrine in its entirety. Given this, it is impossible to understand how materials produced by certain campaigning organisations can possibly be used in our schools, since these groups promote a vision of sexuality and relationships diametrically opposed to that of the Catholic Church. Furthermore, it is to be expected that any teacher or educational contributor who addresses these matters in a Catholic school be given full and appropriate training in Christian anthropology and Catholic teaching.

In conclusion, we urge all with responsibility in this area – in particular the Catholic Education Service – to do everything possible to ensure that Catholic doctrine is faithfully taught and errors corrected – and we pledge ourselves, as Catholic pastors, to play our part in ensuring this.

“Anchor Your Priesthood in Your Relationship with Christ.”

Pope Francis


Priests incardinated or serving in British dioceses, Deacons (Permanent and Transistory), members of Religious Congregations, Secular Institutes, and

Seminarians. Clerics with voting rights are those whose application has been accepted by the Provincial Council, whose subscription has been paid for the current year, and who have attended at least one meeting per annum.


Membership applications are to be accompanied by a Bank Standing Order for annual payment of an amount determined by the Provincial Council [currently £30 per annum]. Vowed Religious and Seminarians may subscribe a smaller sum (eg. £10) as a one-off joining contribution.

Please send completed Membership Form, and remittance to:

Fr Richard Whinder
27 Nightingale Square
London  SW12 8QJ

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“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” Matthew 28:18b-20

How to find us

Confraternity Contacts
27 Nightingale Square, Balham, London SW12 8QJ