Belgian cardinal backs celebrating gay couples’ relationships

A Belgian cardinal is considering a celebration of thanksgiving or prayer for gay couples in stable, lasting relationships.

After a meeting with delegates from a local gay working group last week, Cardinal Jozef De Kesel said he was concerned for their well-being and spoke of his respect for them.

He also spoke of gay couples’ relationships, noting these are not the same as Christian marriage between a man and a woman.

At the same time, he acknowledged the personal encounter gay couples have.

De Kesel wants to respond to gay couples’ requests when they are believers, involved in stable, lasting relationships and wish their relationships to benefit from the church’s symbolic recognition.

However, this recognition won’t be the same a religious marriage. Nor will it be an ecclesiastical blessing that too closely resembles the blessing of a marriage.

Nor would it involve an exchange of consent sealed by an exchange of rings.

Instead, if gay people want a Christian symbol of their proximity, a celebration of thanksgiving or prayer is more likely, De Kessel’s spokesman Geert De Kerpel says.

“To the extent that the church has maintained a certain reserve on the issue, it is to preserve the great value of marriage and the family to the greatest extent possible.”

Although Belgian media have suggested De Kesel is adopting a “revolutionary position,” his stance reflects the Belgian Church has already taken on gay couples’ relationships.



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