According to a source, Pope Francis was aware of the preparation of a liturgy for the blessing of homosexual couples by the Dutch-speaking episcopate of Belgium, which was published on September 20, 2022, together with a letter of explanation.
This publication caused a stir and many reactions. The bishops defended themselves. Msgr. Johan Bonny, Bishop of Antwerp, said he had spoken about this project to Pope Francis – with whom he met in Rome in June – and that he was in “communion with him.”
In an article published on October 13, the newspaper La Croix explains that the text has been in the making for four years, since a meeting of intellectuals and theologians with Pope Francis in May 2018. This group, called “Logia” received the Pontiff’s encouragement.
They then turned to Cardinal Jozef De Kesel who also encouraged them and instructed them to study the question of a better reception of LGBT people. The process is evolving, and, according to the same source, other meetings are taking place with the Pope.
This is why the Belgian bishops say that they are “in communion with Pope Francis.” The bishops rely partly on the Pope’s “distance” from the document by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which had explicitly condemned the blessing of homosexual couples in March 2021.
They also rely, as expected, on Amoris Laetitia: “We are in line with what he [the pope] wants, namely respect and support for people in the continuation of Amoris Laetitia. In chapter 8 of this apostolic exhortation, published in 2016, the Pope insisted in particular on the importance of “accompanying, discerning, and integrating fragility.”
The bishops also recall that the text, which some of them do not hesitate to qualify as a “blessing,” is only one of the measures adopted to better welcome homosexuals in the Church. “We want there to be better structured pastoral care for individuals and for homosexual couples,” they summarize.
Another source close to the episcopate summarizes: “We believe that it is not contrary to the will of God, if there is reciprocal love, fidelity, and attention to the other.”
On the side of Rome, while the signatory of the March 2021 document, Cardinal Luis Ladaria Ferrer, president of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, will soon be replaced, there is complete silence.
Three cardinals distinguished themselves by their reaction to the Belgian bishops’ text. Cardinal Wim Eijk, Archbishop of Utrecht, explained his opposition at length, and ends his demonstration with a wish: “that the Flemish bishops will soon be invited by ecclesiastically competent circles to withdraw their declaration and that they comply with it.”
Cardinal Francis Arinze in turn, in a statement dated September 24, explained that the Flemish bishops of Belgium have “made an error.” And he reminds them that this type of blessing is non-existent, because the Church does not have the power to give a blessing to people of the same sex, as recalled by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
In a statement sent to LifeSiteNews, Cardinal Gerhard Müller in turn condemned this as “heretical” and “diametrically opposed to the Word of God on marriage, the family, and the creation of man as man or woman.”
The question is this: what are these cardinals – and certain bishops who have also condemned this horror – going to do in the face of the Roman silence which now appears as an accomplice? It will be necessary to draw the conclusions and react as the situation requires.