The Buzz

Belgian bishops propose prayer for gay couples, not marriage

Belgian bishops yesterday  published a proposed text for a prayer liturgy for same-sex couples that includes prayers, Scriptural readings and expressions of commitment, despite a 2021 Vatican directive barring church blessings for gay couples.

The Flemish-speaking bishops stressed that the “moment of prayer” was by no means akin to a sacramental marriage, which Catholic doctrine says is a lifelong union between a man and woman. Rather, they said their proposal is part of the Belgian church’s effort to be more responsive to its gay members and to “create a climate of respect, recognition and integration.” They cited Pope Francis’ call for the church to be more welcoming to gays.

The publication of the text, first reported by the Dutch newspaper Nederlands Dagblad, marks the latest salvo in efforts by more progressive churches to extend greater outreach to gays, led by the German church and its controversial “synodal” process of dialogue with the German laity.

Catholic teaching holds that gays must be treated with dignity and respect, but that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered.”

Last year, the Vatican’s doctrine office decreed that the church cannot bless same-sex unions “because God cannot bless sin.”

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