the Flemish bishops pave the way for the blessing of same-sex unions


One of the initiators of the project describes it himself as " revolutionary " and of "signal sent to the whole world" : in Belgium, the Flemish bishops took a position, Tuesday September 20, in favor of an opening of the Catholic Church to the homosexual community. The bishops announced the creation of a specific liturgy to bless homosexual couples. The Catholic institution in Flanders will also set up a “contact point” for homosexual believers. This announcement, which ignores an opinion of the dicastery (Vatican ministry) for the doctrine of the faith of March 2021 and seems at odds with Catholic doctrine on homosexuality, immediately triggered a stir in the Church.

The project coordinator, Willy Bombeek, former spokesman for the Catholic education network in Flanders, is himself homosexual. “It is for this reason that the bishops asked me to accept this mission, he explained to the television channel VRT. It is important to note that the Church specifically wanted an LGBTI person in this position. » Each diocese will be invited to designate a person responsible for this question.

In their text the bishops refer to the "sometimes complex path that homosexual people follow to admit their orientation, accept it and live it positively". “We want to stay with them”, they add. They also consider it necessary to devote attention to the relatives and families of these people, to their place in society and in the Church, “Because a better understanding can foster a better integration”.

Not a real religious marriage

According to the coordinator, listening the " pain " of those who have suffered rejection, invite parents to come to the contact point, "because they too probably have a lot of questions to ask and things to talk about", will therefore be its priorities. He also stresses the importance of informing children raised in homoparental families that “their parents are fully accepted by the Church”. “This is the first time that the Flemish Church has sent the message to believing LGBTI people that they are welcome. And that they are fine the way they are"insists Mr. Bombeek.

The blessing of homosexual couples was already practiced in a few places, at the local level, but the desire is now to “to structure, [de] find the appropriate form » for a blessing seen by Flemish Catholics as a sign of a commitment “sustainable, based on loyalty”. “It is important that LGBTI people can celebrate their relationship within the Church, and that it be blessed before God”commented Mr. Bombeek.

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