Flemish Roman Catholic bishops on Tuesday issued a document effectively allowing the blessing of same-sex unions, in direct defiance of a ruling against such practices by the Vatican’s doctrinal office.
The document published on the website of the Bishops’ Conference of Belgium suggested a ritual that included a prayer and a benediction for stable same-sex unions. But it stressed that it was not “what the Church understands by a sacramental marriage”.
It said the Church wanted to be “pastorally close to homosexual persons” and be a “welcoming Church that excludes no one.”
The ritual would start with prayers and includes a commitment by the two people in front of family and friends to be faithful to each other. It would end with more prayer and what the document called a “benediction”.
A Vatican spokesman had no immediate comment.
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