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BOLOGNA, Italy (ChurchMilitant.com) - Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, the president of the Italian Episcopal Conference, is tacitly approving Italy's first public same-sex blessing, held in his archdiocese of Bologna.
Father Gabriele Davalli blessed homosexual couple Pietro Morotti and Giacomo Spagnoli on Saturday at the parish church of San Lorenzo, Budrio, in flagrant violation of the Vatican's recent prohibition of same-sex blessings.
Davalli, who heads the Pastoral Office for the Family under Cdl. Zuppi, presided over an illicit "Thanksgiving Mass" to celebrate the union of Morotti and Spagnoli, just after the two homosexuals registered their civil union in the municipality of Budrio.
Zuppi is one of the leading papabile candidates listed by Vaticanist Edward Pentin in his book The Next Pope: The Leading Cardinal Candidates. Last month, Italy's Gay.it described him as "one of the cardinals closest to the LGBTQ + community ever."
The cardinal-archbishop of Bologna was informed and gave his permission for the service, in which at least six other priests concelebrated before a congregation packed with parents, relatives and friends of the homosexual couple.
The Mass was not advertised in the parish bulletin and is not a regular service on the parish calendar but was organized specially for the couple. The concelebrants donned vestments in liturgical red, marking the martyrdom of St. Barnabas, the saint of the day.
Supporters of Morotti and Spagnoli threw rice on the couple as they emerged from the municipal office after registering their civil union. The couple, who had flowers, special hymns and a photographer, were seated in the front pew for the Mass.
After Communion, the "newly-wed" couple processed to the altar and received an apron from the priest.
Davalli denied violating the ban on blessing same-sex couples and insisted Morotti and Spagnoli had "simply participated in the Mass like everyone else who was in church."
"Every Mass is a thanksgiving, it is in the etymology of the word itself," the dissident priest told La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana in an attempt to justify labelling the ad hoc celebration a "Thanksgiving Mass."
"The giving of the apron was not a liturgical action," he insisted. "It meant that these two boys are young people who in recent years have always served people on a journey by receiving and serving them."
"I was a profoundly homophobic priest, fed with so many clichés — the ones we hear about homosexual people. I was governed by so much theology and so much normativity. All this prevented me from seeing the real life of these people," Davalli earlier said, justifying his acceptance of homosexual partnerships.
Catholic columnist Luisella Scrosati blasted the "Pharisaic hypocrisy" of the "shepherds who lead their sheep to perdition," commenting:
What game is the diocese of Bologna and its bishop playing? For what was the "Thanksgiving Mass" offered? Can the Church that "neither blesses nor can bless sin" offer God the sacrifice of thanksgiving for sin?
This is a celebration that saw the two young people in the front row with a procession of guests in tow, and which was explicitly conceived as a thanksgiving to God for their "union."
The homosexual couple, Morotti and Spagnoli, feature in a short Italian film titled The Greatest Blessing.
In the film, Morotti says he talked to his parents about his homosexual struggle "without settling for quick answers or what you could read in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which was an important reference guide for them, as it is for every Catholic."
"However, we realized together that the answers we would find in the Catechism are not sufficient; they were not exhaustive for my life," Morotti explains. The Catechism states that "homosexual acts" are "acts of grave depravity" that are "intrinsically disordered."
Speaking on camera, Spagnoli says he felt he needed to share his "faith journey with people who were living the same experience" after he became conscious of his sexual orientation. Spagnoli says he met his partner on a Catholic get-together for homosexuals, and they have now been together for six years.
Spagnoli goes on to justify his homosexual partnership based on a twisted interpretation of St. Peter's baptism of the Roman centurion Cornelius (Acts 10).
Earlier, Zuppi, who was elected by majority vote as president of the Italian bishops' conference in May, insisted on "welcoming" a person even if he "leads a lifestyle contrary to God's law," arguing "no one chooses their sexual orientation."
The cardinal earned the nickname "Archbishop Tortellino" after he suggested cooking tortellini — a Bolognese specialty — without pork for Muslims when banquets were organized for Muslims in churches.
In 2019, when Pope Francis named Zuppi a cardinal, homosexualist Jesuit Fr. James Martin enthusiastically tweeted, "He [Zuppi] is a great supporter of #LGBT Catholics and wrote the forward for the Italian version of my book Building a Bridge."
In March 2021, the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published a responsum ad dubium (reply to a doubt) categorically ruling out as "illicit" and "unlawful" the possibility of blessings for same-sex couples.
God "does not and cannot bless sin," the decree stated, noting "there are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God's plan for marriage and family."
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