Vatican City, Oct. 25, 2022 / 11:05 a.m. (CNA).
In an interview with Vatican media, Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, SJ, said he believes the Church’s blessings for same-sex unions, which the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has spoken out against , were not a settled question.
The cardinal’s response came in response to an interview question about the decision last month by the Catholic bishops of Belgium to back the possibility of blessings for unions of same-sex couples – in defiance of the Vatican.
“Frankly, the question does not seem decisive to me,” Hollerich, Archbishop of Luxembourg, told L’Osservatore Romano in an interview also published on Vatican News October 24.
The Vatican Office of Doctrine has looked into the matter in March 2021specifying that the Church does not have the power to bless the unions of same-sex couples.
In defiance of this declaration, the Catholic bishops of Belgium published on September 20 a text for the blessing ceremonies of same-sex couples in their dioceses. The bishops of Flanders – the Dutch-speaking region of Belgium – have also published a liturgy for the celebration of same-sex unions.
In the interview, Cardinal Hollerich highlighted the etymology of the Italian words for “bless” and “curse”: benedire and maledire.
“If we stay on the etymology of ‘bene-dire’, [‘say good’] do you think God could ever ‘say-male’ [say bad] about two people who love each other? Hollerich said.
“I would be more interested in discussing other aspects of the problem,” he continued. “For example: What is driving the manifest growth of homosexual orientation in society? Or why is the percentage of homosexuals in church institutions higher than in civil society?
The Cardinal did not cite any source to assert that there are more people with a homosexual orientation in Church institutions than in civil society.
Hollerich is also president of the Commission of Episcopal Conferences of the European Union and general rapporteur of the Synod on synodality.
The cardinal clarified that he does not think “there is room for sacramental same-sex marriage,” because same-sex unions do not have the procreative character of marriage.
“But that doesn’t mean their emotional connection has no value,” he added.
“Pope Francis often recalls the need for theology to be able to be born and develop from human experience, and not to remain the fruit of academic elaboration alone,” he said. “Secondly, so many of our brothers and sisters tell us that whatever the origin and cause of their sexual orientation, they certainly did not choose it. These are not “bad apples”. They are also fruits of creation.
The Archbishop of Luxembourg also said that he has a lot of contact with young people in his ministry and that “for young people today, the highest value is non-discrimination”.
“[What] I constantly see is that young people stop considering the gospel, if they feel like we discriminate,” he said, recalling a recent encounter with a woman in her 20s who said that wanted to leave the Church because it does not welcome homosexuals. couples.
“I asked her, ‘Do you feel discriminated against because you’re gay?’ and she said ‘No, no! I’m not a lesbian, but my closest friend is. I know her suffering and I do not intend to be among those who judge her. It got me thinking a lot,” Hollerich said.
“Everyone is called. No one is excluded: even remarried divorcees, even homosexuals, everyone. The Kingdom of God is not an exclusive club. It opens its doors to everyone, without discrimination,” the cardinal said.
“Sometimes in the Church the accessibility of these groups to the kingdom of God is discussed. And this creates the perception of exclusion in part of the people of God. They feel left out and that’s not fair! Here, it is not about theological subtleties or ethical dissertations: here, it is simply a question of affirming that the message of Christ is for all!
In 2021, answer the question “Does the Church have the power to bless same-sex unions?” the Congregation (now Dicastery) for the Doctrine of the Faith responded “negatively”.
Blessings are sacramental, the Vatican explained, and “when a blessing is invoked upon particular human relationships, in addition to the good intention of those who participate in it, it is necessary that what is blessed be objectively and positively ordained for receive and express grace, according to the purposes of God written in creation and fully revealed by Christ the Lord.
However, basing their argument on Amoris LaetitiaPope Francis’ 2016 Apostolic Exhortation on Love in the Family, Cardinal Jozef De Kesel of Mechelen-Brussels and other bishops in the Flemish part of Belgium issued a document on September 20 titled “Be Pastoral Close gay people – for a welcoming Church that excludes no one.
The bishops of Belgium will meet Pope Francis and other Vatican officials, including the head of the doctrine office, Cardinal Luis Ladaria, in late November.
Postponed several times, this meeting, known as ad limina, will be the first of Belgian bishops since 2010.
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