the Belgians and the Dutch

By Jeff Ziegler ( articles ) | Jul 15, 2003

In the new issue of Our Sunday Visitor (July 20, p. 7, not online), Jonathan Luxmoore surveys how the Church in various European nations is ministering to those who have entered homosexual civil unions.

Geert Lesarge, spokesman for the Belgian bishops, says, "There is a difference between the Church's strictly canonical view of marriage and its pastoral practice. For now, priests who have conducted blessing ceremonies at the request of gay couples are not acting in an official way. But the bishops have not made any formal, final statement about this, and their precise position remains to be decided."

That's bad -- really bad. (Why not have blessing ceremonies that imply approval of other sins that cry to heaven: a blessing for those about to commit murder, a blessing for employers about to defraud their employees, etc.?)

Peter Kohnen, spokesman for the Dutch bishops, also weighs in: "The Church's teaching on marriage is quite clear... The problem is that the Church doesn't want to exclude people, so it has to be attentive. At times, it's hard to combine the Church's teaching on the one hand with its spiritual mission on the other."

Actually, it's easy to combine the two if the Church's very mission is to call men to repent and believe in the Gospel.

Happily, Kohnen adds, "Of course, there will always by people who ask for this [a blessing] and pastors who are willing to consider it -- but formally there's no room whatsoever for an act of blessing."

But is there room "informally"?

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