Bishops in Belgium have introduced a liturgy for the blessings of same sex couples in defiance of teaching from the Vatican.
A document issued by the Flemish-speaking bishops of Flanders also includes prayers, Scripture readings and suggested wording for same-sex couples to proclaim publicly and in a church setting before God how they are committed to one another.
The rite asks God to bless and perpetuate this commitment of love and fidelity between homosexual couples.
Cardinal Jozef De Kesel of Mechelen-Brussels and the other bishops behind the document, called “Being pastorally close to homosexual persons — For a welcoming Church that excludes no one”, argue however that their teachings are consistent with Amoris Laetitia (the Joy of Love), the 2016 post-synodal exhortation of Pope Francis on the pastoral care of families.
They say the document was issued as a “concrete response and fulfilment to the desire to give explicit attention to the situation of homosexual persons, their parents and families in the conduct of policy”.
“Every human being, regardless of his sexual orientation, must be respected in his dignity and treated with respect. We want to continue on that path by giving this pastoral relationship a more structural character,” the Belgian bishops say.
These prelates recognise that love is love. Love is more important than sexual behaviour, and love is something that the Church should always bless.