Chicago: The “Quasi-Marriage” of a Same-Sex Couple

Source: FSSPX News

The Church of St. Vincent de Paul in Chicago

OSV News, Catholic News Agency, National Catholic Register, and other news outlets have reported on a ceremony performed by a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago, Fr. Joseph Williams, pastor of the St. Vincent de Paul parish, which is served by priests of the Vincentian Congregation of the Mission (CM)--Western Province (Vincentians).

The Facts

A video, available on an Instagram account, presents a ceremony which has the clear appearance of a marriage, but the two people involved are women: Kelli and Myah Knight. Kelli Knight has been the pastor of United Methodist communities around Chicago for 14 years.

OSV News reports that, when contacted, “Father Williams confirmed that he is the priest in the video, and that the blessing — which he said he administered by appointment at the request of Knight a month prior — took place at St. Vincent de Paul.” The scene was filmed using a cell phone. The church seems empty, but the priest is wearing an alb and a stole.

The situation in the video is described by OSV News: “The format of the blessing approximates a renewal of wedding vows, with Father Williams addressing the women by their names, asking, ‘Do you freely recommit yourselves to love each other as holy spouses and to live in peace and harmony together forever?’ 

“‘We do, I do,’ they each reply. 

“Father Williams then continues, ‘Loving God, increase and consecrate the love which Kelli and Myah have for one another.’

“Although no ring exchange is depicted in the segment, the priest says, ‘The rings they have exchanged are the sign of their fidelity and commitment. May they continue to prosper in your grace and blessing. We ask this through Christ our Lord.’ 

“He concludes the blessing by making the sign of the cross over the two women, who cross themselves, and saying, ‘May God’s blessing be yours, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.’”

Confused and Contradictory Explanations

In his response to OSV News, Fr. Williams justified wearing the alb and the stole: “It’s how I do it. When I go to somebody’s house to bless their house … I wear an alb and stole. … That’s just what I do as a priest. That’s part of my garment.”

As for Fiducia Supplicans, he explained that his gesture stemmed from his “understanding of the text.” He adds that “the Holy Father said that same-sex couples can be blessed as long as it does not reflect a marriage situation … as long as it’s clear that it’s not a marriage.”

He defends himself anyway. When Knight asked for the blessing, Fr. Williams told her: “Please understand that this is not in any way a marriage, a wedding, anything like that. This is just simply a blessing of persons.”

Nevertheless, “Father Williams explained to OSV News that his use of the term ‘holy spouses’ in the blessing he had written was intended to mean ‘couple,’” as that outlet reports.--We seem to be dreaming...“holy spouses” for people in a situation of objectively grave sin!

OSV News showed itself to be rather  combative in sending a link of the video to the Archdiocese of Chicago for comment, as well as to Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF), which is responsible for Fiducia supplicans, for his thoughts on this act.

A Predictable and Inevitable Drift

There was no need to be a prophet to say that this situation would present itself sooner or later, once Fiducia supplicans was published. And this is no doubt only the tip of the iceberg. The situation will continue to deteriorate and the ceremonies will explicitly become “marriages.”

There is only one way to stop this monstrous drift: remove the initial drift--that is to say, the Declaration itself. Meanwhile, the person responsible for this Chicago ceremony is the Prefect of the DDF, and he first and foremost. It is he who will primarily have to respond before God.