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Bishops in Belgium defy Vatican, publish ceremony for blessing same-sex unions

AC Wimmer By AC Wimmer for CNA

People take part in the annual Belgian LGBT Pride Parade in central Brussels in this May 19, 2018, file photo. (CNS photo/Francois Lenoir, Reuters)

CNA Newsroom, Sep 20, 2022 / 06:27 am (CNA).

In open defiance of the Vatican, Catholic bishops in Belgium on Tuesday announced the introduction of blessing ceremonies for same-sex couples in their dioceses.

The bishops of Flanders also published a liturgy for the celebration of homosexual unions.

“In doing so, they are going directly against the Vatican,” reported Nederlands Dagblad.

The Vatican published an official clarification in March 2021 that the Catholic Church does not have the power to give liturgical blessings of homosexual unions.

However, basing their argument on Amoris laetitia, Cardinal Jozef De Kesel of Mechelen-Brussels and other bishops of the Flemish-speaking part of Belgium on Sept. 20 published a document titled “Being pastorally close to homosexual persons — For a welcoming Church that excludes no one.”

The bishops’ publication contains a suggested liturgy for same-sex blessings, including prayers, Scripture reading, and parts in which the couple can “express before God how they are committed to one another.”

The bishops of the Flemish-speaking part of Belgium also announced that each diocese will appoint a person as “concrete response and fulfillment to the desire to give explicit attention to the situation of homosexual persons, their parents and families in the conduct of policy. Pope Francis also expressed this explicitly in his April 2016 apostolic exhortation on the pastoral care of families, Amoris laetitia (‘The Joy of Love’).”

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) issued its latest declaration on same-sex blessings on March 15, 2021, in a document known as a Responsum ad dubium (“Response to a question”).

In reply to the query, “Does the Church have the power to give the blessing to unions of persons of the same sex?” the CDF answered, “Negative.”

The congregation outlined its reasoning in an explanatory note and accompanying commentary.

The Vatican statement, issued with the approval of Pope Francis, sparked protests and open defiance in the German-speaking Catholic world.

Organizers held a day of protest in response to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s declaration that the Church does not have the power to bless same-sex unions.

German priests and pastoral workers also openly defied the Vatican and conducted blessing ceremonies for same-sex couples.

In July, the secretary-general of the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK), said the Synodal Way — sometimes referred to as Synodal Path — was “a conscious statement against the current Catholic catechism, which has been critical and disparaging of homosexuality since the mid-1970s and still reproaches homosexual activity as sin.”

His comments were published on July 17 in German and English by Outreach, a website edited by Jesuit Father James Martin that describes itself as an “LGBT Catholic resource.”

Several German bishops have recently come out in support of changes in Church teaching on sexuality and gender identity.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says: “The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided” (No. 2358).

It continues: “These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition” (No. 2358).

It adds: “Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection” (No. 2359).


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26 Comments

  1. These Bishops are heretics, and in a Church which worshipped Jesus as Lord, instead of worshipping Bishops, they would be invited out the door to start their official fake church, rather than insisting on their standing as “krisjuns” and “katlicks,” which impression apparently persists in their minds because they are well groomed, well fed and nicely costumed.

  2. Yea, verily, in service to inclusivity, the ceremonial scriptural citations surely will not exclude the below from both the Old and the New Testament and, in the interest of ressourcement theology, also something from a Church Father:

    The Old Testament: “Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbor’s wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbor’s house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass [!], or any thing that is thy neighbor’s” (Deuteronomy 5:21).

    St. Paul: “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).

    St. John Chrysostom: “The road to hell is paved with the bones of priests and monks, and the skulls of bishops are the lampposts that light the path.”

    • I believe that Cardinal Jozef De Kesel and all the Catholic bishops of Belgium who agree to bless and validate homosexual unions and sin, contrary to Scripture and the Church’s teachings, will be condemned. They have no longer the authority to be shepherds of the Church.

  3. I have found, the best way to handle the schism of the German Church, is to put their evil defiance directly up against our Lord Jesus Christ. You do this by switching to the issue of Divorce and Remarriage, which the German Church also wants to change. Jesus is VERY CLEAR on this issue. When asked what we must do to go to heaven, Jesus’ very second command is to not commit adultery, and, according to Jesus, divorce and remarriage is committing adultery. So now you have the German Church in clear defiance to our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ, rather than the German schism versus the Catholic Church teachings.

    Then the Pope anathematizes the schism German Church on all issues of evil defiance to our Lord Jesus Christ. If the schism German Church repents of all their evil, then they can come home to Jesus and His Church.

    Mark 10:6
    At the beginning of creation God made them male and female; for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and the two shall become as one. They are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore let no man separate what God has joined.” Back in the house again, the disciples began to question him about this. He told them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and the woman who divorces her husband and marries another commits adultery.”

    Mark 10:17
    “Good Teacher, what must I do to share in everlasting life? Jesus answered, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not kill; You shall not commit adultery;'”

    Luke 16:17
    “The law and the prophets were in force until John. From his time on, the good news of God’s kingdom has been proclaimed, and people of every sort are forcing their way in. It is easier for the heavens and the earth to pass away than for a single stroke of a letter of the law to pass. Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery. The man who marries a woman divorced from her husband likewise commits adultery.”

    Malachi 2:16
    For I hate divorce, says the LORD, the God of Israel, And covering one’s garment with injustice, says the LORD of hosts; You must then safeguard life that is your own, and not break faith.

    1 Corinthians 7:10
    To those now married, however, I give this command (though it is not mine; it is the Lord’s): a wife must not separate from her husband. If she does separate, she must either remain single or become reconciled to him again. Similarly, a husband must not divorce his wife.

    Wisdom 14:22
    Then it was not enough for them to err in their knowledge of God; but even though they lived in a great war of ignorance, they called such evils peace. For while they celebrate either childslaying sacrifices or clandestine mysteries, or frenzied carousals in unheard of rites, They no longer safeguard either lives or pure wedlock; but each either waylays and kills his neighbor, or aggrieves him by adultery. And all is confusion– blood and murder, theft and guile, corruption, faithlessness, turmoil, perjury,…

    Matthew 19:4 The Question of Divorce.
    “Have you not read that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female and declared, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and cling to his wife, and the two shall become as one’? Thus they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore, let no man separate what God has joined.”…
    …”but at the beginning it was not that way. I now say to you, whoever divorces his wife (lewd conduct is a separate case) and marries another commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”

    Genesis 2:22
    This one shall be called ‘woman,’ for out of ‘her man’ this one has been taken.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body.

    Matthew 19:16
    “Teacher, what good must I do to possess everlasting life?” He answered, “Why do you question me about what is good? There is One who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” “Which ones?” he asked. Jesus replied, “‘You shall not kill’; ‘You shall not commit adultery’…”

  4. Two points (of many) for our Orwellian Church. The headline isn’t quite accurate if you include Francis in the Vatican because he blesses same sex couples too. And as far as the “For a welcoming Church that excludes no one” silly statement goes, how long will it be before Catholics with respect for Catholic tradition and the Communion of Saints be included in the Church?

    • Hold firm in your faith brother. Strengthen your family and your community ties. Strengthen your parish ties. The ecclesia is our mother and we must remain faithful to her, no matter how it hurts. I am appalled by what is happening in Europe but all will be revealed for the sin that it is. It’s just a matter of time. God bless you.

  5. It’s just a matter of time until “Fr.” Martin shows up waving the flag.

    They are indeed heretics, Chris – thanks for stating the obvious.

  6. God speaks to their point of view and it is not encouraging unless they repent and accept the rules and tenets of the church!

    Philippians 2:21 For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.

    Romans 1:29-31 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.

    Psalm 10:3 For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul, and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the Lord

    .Jude 1:16 These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favouritism to gain advantage.

    2 Timothy 3:4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,

    Prayers for the Holy Spirit to regenerate them. Prayers for Papa that he will do what is just.

  7. Operation Synodalweg, a Vatican sponsored deftly engineered putsch to destabilize universal Catholicism now having predictable outcome? Belgium, the home of Godfried Danneels, apparently was ripe as the first expected domino.
    Greatest of all synods, the grand Synod on Synodality the major arm of a veritable Von Schlieffen Plan? Synodalweg is comparable to the earlier, smaller audacious assault through the ‘impassible’ Ardennes. If the Vatican had focused on effectively managing Synodalweg, what occurred in Belgium wouldn’t likely have occurred [at least not so soon]. Similarly, would the appointment of radical Luxembourg cardinal Pierre Hollerich SJ as Synod relator have been made if attention weren’t fixed [cardinal Walter Kasper, perhaps a convenient headline grabber denouncing Synodalweg] on Germany’s collapse into apostasy?
    Whatever may be, the process of reactionary effect appeared in the making. Our clerical sentinels were snoozing, or just plain in cahoots while supposedly guarding the ramparts. At least this is a wakeup call. They’re still numbers of sufficiently faithful to turn the tide. As at the miracle of the Marne.

  8. Here is a novel approach to evangelization: just preach the Gospel! You know, the four that are in the Bible. It worked for Jesus. With a little faith and humility it might even work for us!

  9. Pope Francis now has to decide. Is Pope Francis going to enforce Church law and order, from the unequaled authority of the Chair of St. Peter, and intervene, or are all Bishops of the world now free to lead in any direction they choose?

    Matthew 12:25 “A kingdom torn by strife is headed for its downfall. A town or household split into factions cannot last for long.”

    Abraham Lincoln “A house divided against itself, cannot stand.”

    All “united” groups need one person, in unequaled authority, to choose the direction in which all members of the group will be compelled to follow, in order for the group to stay united. Almost all organizations, companies, countries, clubs, militaries, religions etc., put one person in unequaled authority, over all the rest of their group members, and these leaders enforce the direction the whole group will go, and it is this enforcement which unites the group as a whole.

    Matthew 12:25 “A kingdom torn by strife is headed for its downfall. A town or household split into factions cannot last for long.” Twelve Apostles with equal authority, equals twelve Churches. Tens of thousands of Bishops, with no one enforcing their actions, equals tens of thousands of Churches.

    If Pope Francis chooses not to enforce law, order, and compel all Catholics to be united in the one direction we will all go, then the Catholic Church, “split into factions cannot last for long”.

  10. I can’t wait until we have blessing ceremonies for kleptomaniacs, and
    blessing ceremonies for adulterers, and
    blessing ceremonies for masturbators, and
    blessing ceremonies for gossipers, and
    blessing ceremonies for [insert your own inclusive sin].

    • I think the number of parties in a union will be the next frontier. If we can’t tell someone who they can or cannot love how can we dictate how many? That at least has some precedence biblically-unlike the gender question.

  11. What is it with Belgium? Heart of Western Europe, beautiful medieval art, music, and traditions of piety, and a population that unites the Latin and Germanic peoples.

    But also: Flemings and Walloons hating each other, King Leopold in the Congo (Conrad’s Heart of Darkness), Rexists in WW II, apostasy, pedophilia scandals, assisted suicide for children and depressed people, etc., etc., etc.

    Does all that simply display what has happened to us?

  12. As a consolation to those long-suffering, real, and betrayed Catholics in Belgium, we are reminded of the response to the 4th century Donatist heresy, and the fact that the validity of the sacraments does not depend upon the holiness (or not) of the ordained priests. This, too, from the life of St. Theresa of Avila:

    “…I beheld my Lord, in that great majesty of which I have spoken, held in the hands of that priest, in the Host he was about to give me. It was plain that those hands were those of a sinner, and I felt that the soul of that priest was in mortal sin. What must it be, O my Lord, to look upon Thy beauty amid shapes [two looming demons] so hideous? The two devils were so frightening and cowed in Thy presence [….] So troubled was I by the vision, that I knew not how I could go to Communion [….]

    “Our Lord Himself told me to pray for that priest; that He had allowed this in order that I might understand the power of the words of consecration, and how God failed not to be present, however wicked the priest might be who uttered them; and that I might see His great goodness in that He left Himself in the very hands of His enemy, for my good and for the good of all [….]

    “I understood […] what a horrible thing it is to receive this most Holy Sacrament unworthily, and how great is the devil’s dominion over a soul in mortal sin” (“The Life of Teresa of Jesus,” autobiography, Newman Bookshop, 1943, Ch. XXXVIII).

  13. A singular fruit of Pope Francis’s refusal to clarify AMORIS LÆTITIA…a foundational attempt by some countries of Western Europe to bless sodomy.

  14. Homosexual agendas have been BACKED by Francis and his never-ending Pontificate.
    It’s a “done deal”. Satan is running rough-shod over remaining, barely-awake
    Catholics.

  15. Francis will be remembered as the first Pope who, through his refusal to teach the Doctrine of the Church and open toleration for those who defy it, has presided over not one, but two Schisms in Belgium and Germany.

    • No, he didn’t.

      How is this ‘pastoral’ approach bringing active homosexuals back to Christ if a country’s Catholic Church ‘blesses’ the very sexual union the Catechism prohibits and the pope is complicit by his very silence or his telling the hierarchy that their approach is correct?

    • You haven’t taken note of how he talks, and has always talked out of both sides of his mouth like the most shameless cynical banana republic tyrant?
      How inauthentic does a heart, mind, and soul have to be than to employ a term and actually believe a term like “the sin of backwardness?”

  16. “The present article offers a study of the way in which a generation of theologians at the Louvain Faculty of Theology – in particular exegetes such as Lucien Cerfaux, Joseph Coppens, and Albert Descamps – have dealt with the aftermath of the modernist crisis. Focussing on the period between the early 20th century tensions that paralyzed catholic theology and exegesis, and the era of aggiornamento set pf by Vatican II, we concentrate upon the way in which these Lovanienses sought to integrate historical criticism and theology. While our main focus lies with the exegetes tackling the (in)compatibility problem, reference will sideways be made to the way in which the faculty kept track with more dogmatically and/or church historically focussed movements in the preconciliar era, such as the so-called nouvelle théologie-movement. In this juncture, the role played by Louvain professors such as Gustave Thils and Roger Aubert cannot remain unmentioned” (Abstract. The Louvain Faculty of Theology and the Modern(ist) Heritage Reconciling History and Theology Karim Schelkens).
    I offer this post in response to questions, why Belgium? Yes, once a European center of Catholic culture, since post WWII [and earlier] a demise perhaps later centered at the Leuven University [the Louvain]. Recalling when preparing for ordination in Rome the talk by faculty was the modernist philosophical theological trend at the Leuven. Aftermath Vat II another factor. Morality collapsed, one shocking account was the scandal of government officials sexually abusing children held captive in locales for that purpose. “Police are investigating child sexual abuse allegations involving a federal Cabinet minister and a regional government official, Belgian newspapers reported Saturday.The investigation follows three months of scandals centering on a child pornography ring that left at least four girls dead” (Associated Press Nov 17 1996 2:00am EDT). “Belgium’s Government slid deeper into crisis today as the Parliament began investigating allegations that a Deputy Prime Minister had engaged in sex with under-age boys” (Top Official Faces Charges in Belgian Sex Scandal Reuters Nov 20 1996).

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