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Belgian bishop suggests ritual to bless non-marital unions

October 07, 2016

Bishop Johan Bonny of Antwerp, Belgium, has suggested that the Church should devise rituals to bless non-marital unions, including those of cohabiting couples and homosexual partners.

In a book due for publication next week, Bishop Bonny argues that the Church should encourage “exclusiveness and stability” in all unions, and help all couples who are working to strengthen “loving relationships.”

Noting that the Church offers many ritual gestures, such as the Sign of the Cross, which are not sacraments, Bishop Bonny asks:

Cannot we, in the Church, create different shades between the ‘nothing’ for unmarried cohabiting couples and the ‘all’ of sacramental marriage, that clearly recognize what is ‘already’ there, and at the same time let see what is ‘not yet’ there?


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  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Oct. 09, 2016 9:40 PM ET USA

    Is this the result of 3 years of not being rigid, not talking about sexual sins, not "offending" the sensibilities of so many Catholics and Catholic detractors? Is this an example of tolerance of sin in action?

  • Posted by: k_cusick1963 - Oct. 08, 2016 8:14 AM ET USA

    The Bible and 2,000 years of Catholic teaching is very clear: Sexual acts outside of marriage are always a grave sin. There are no exceptions. Our bodies belong to Christ if we are Christian. No, it isn't an easy path, but Jesus said "narrow is the path that leads to life". We must show compassion to those who struggle with either hetero or homosexual sin. But we must never condone it. Celibacy outside of marriage is the only option pleasing to God. Bishop Bonny, God can never bless sin.

  • Posted by: Bveritas2322 - Oct. 07, 2016 6:59 PM ET USA

    Sure, bless a mortal sin. Keep it up Bishop, but don't forget there is that thing called a final accounting before God.