Defying Vatican, Flemish bishops enable blessing same-sex unions By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A rainbow flag is seen on the wall of a Catholic church because the constructing is open for same-sex {couples} to obtain a blessing in Cologne, Germany, Could 10, 2021. REUTERS/Thilo Schmuelgen

By Philip Pullella and Charlotte Van Campenhout

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Flemish Roman Catholic bishops on Tuesday issued a doc successfully permitting the blessing of same-sex unions, in direct defiance of a ruling towards such practices by the Vatican’s doctrinal workplace.

The doc revealed on the web site of the Bishops’ Convention of Belgium recommended a ritual that included a prayer and a benediction for steady same-sex unions. But it surely confused that it was not “what the Church understands by a sacramental marriage”.

It mentioned the Church needed to be “pastorally near gay individuals” and be a “welcoming Church that excludes nobody.”

The ritual would begin with prayers and features a dedication by the 2 individuals in entrance of household and associates to be trustworthy to one another. It could finish with extra prayer and what the doc referred to as a “benediction”.

A Vatican spokesman had no quick remark.

In March 2021, in response to formal questions from plenty of Roman Catholic dioceses on whether or not the follow of blessing same-sex unions was allowed, the Vatican’s doctrinal workplace, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Religion (CDF), dominated that it was not.

On the time, the CDF mentioned its ruling was “not meant to be a type of unjust discrimination, however moderately a reminder of the reality of the liturgical ceremony” of the sacrament of marriage and the blessing related to it.

In response to that ruling, Bishop John Bonny of Antwerp mentioned he felt “disgrace for my Church” and apologised to these he mentioned had been harm by the “painful and incomprehensible” resolution.


Pope Francis has mentioned he’s against same-sex marriage within the Church however helps civil union laws to offer same-sex {couples} authorized safety and rights equivalent to inheritance and shared well being care.

A spokesman for the bishops, Geert De Kerpel, mentioned their intention was to not defy the Vatican ruling.

“That is before everything a constructive message,” he informed Reuters, including that it conformed with the pope’s requires a extra inclusive Church.

The Flemish bishops doc mentioned that some Catholic gays remained celibate and that the Church appreciated it. The Church teaches that whereas gay orientation just isn’t sinful, gay acts are.

However the doc added that “some desire to stay as a pair, in lasting and trustworthy union with a associate” and that such a relationship “will also be a supply of peace and shared happiness”.

The bishops denounced “homophobic violence,” and mentioned they needed to “structurally anchor their pastoral dedication to gay individuals”.

They introduced the appointment of Willy Bombeek, a homosexual Catholic, as a further employees member to their division for pastoral care of households to supervise care of homosexual Catholics.

One with comparable duties could be appointed to every diocese in Flanders, the Dutch-speaking a part of Belgium.

“I am proud to belong to the Flemish Church,” Bombeek informed Reuters. “I hope that spiritual individuals in different international locations may also get to expertise this, and hopefully, that is solely the start”.

Francis DeBernardo, government director of U.S.-based Catholic LGBTQ group New Methods Ministry, mentioned the transfer could be a blessing for each the couple and for the Church.

“These prelates recognise that love is love. Love is extra vital than sexual behaviour, and love is one thing that the Church ought to all the time bless,” he mentioned in an announcement.

(Charlotte Van Campenhout reported from Amsterdam; Enhancing by Catherine Evans, Mark Heinrich, Mark Porter, Angus MacSwan and Jonathan Oatis)

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