Brussels, Belgium.- Belgian Catholic bishops on Tuesday published a document that effectively allows the blessing of same-sex unions, in an apparent direct challenge to a ruling against such practices issued by the Vatican’s doctrinal office last year.
The document, published on the website of the Belgian episcopal conference, proposes a ritual that includes a prayer and a blessing for stable unions between people of the same sex, while stressing that it is not “what the Church understands by sacramental marriage “.
As he indicated, the Church wants to be “pastorally close to homosexual people” and be a “welcoming Church that does not exclude anyone.”
The suggested ritual would begin with prayers and include a commitment by the two people to family and friends to be faithful to each other. The ritual would end with more prayers and what the document called a “blessing.”
The Vatican had no immediate comment.
In March 2021, in response to formal questions from several Catholic dioceses about whether the practice of blessing same-sex unions was permitted, the Vatican’s doctrinal office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), ruled that it would not. .
At the time, the CDF said its decision “is not intended as a form of unfair discrimination, but as a reminder of the truth of the liturgical rite” of the sacrament of marriage and the blessing associated with it.