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Rome Reports

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What about the Belgian Church and the blessing of same-sex couples?

Pope Francis' words on his return from Brazil in 2013 have been interpreted in many ways.

If a gay person, is a person of good will who seeks God, who am I to judge?

For example, on September 20, bishops from Belgium made headlines after releasing a communique stating that they will bless same-sex unions despite the Church's teaching. They base their reasoning on the fact that they say the blessing is not an "eclesiastical marriage."

However, some experts think this decision is contradictory to the Church's teachings. The Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith statement made in March 2021 explains that these relationships cannot be blessed because blessings cannot be given to relationships "involving sexual practices outside of marriage."

Executive Director, Courage International
The document that we were talking about from the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith points out that a blessing as a sacramental is, as they say, in relationship with the sacraments. And so to give a blessing to a couple who are living together because they are in love with each other and presumably having a sexual relationship—they said a blessing in that situation would be a certain imitation or analogue of the nuptial blessing.

Fr. Bochanski also explains that blessing same-sex relationships is not possible because it would be expressing the same thing as performing a marriage in the Church.

But, this does not mean that people with same-sex tendencies should be excluded from the Church or left alone. Fr. Bochanski believes that the Church has an important role in accompanying these people and their families.

The question of how to include and accompany people with same-sex attraction is challenging, but the Church is still focused on answering it.