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Statement of Cardinal Francis Arinze on Gay Blessings in Belgium

Joachin Meisner Hertz

(ZENIT News / Rome, 04.10.2022).- Given the Liturgy of Blessing that the Belgian Bishops of the Flemish region of the country authorized for same-sex couples, now Cardinal Francis Arinze adds his voice to the criticisms against Belgium’s Episcopate. 

In a letter, the former Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments from 2002 to 2008, said:

“Even if the aim is to be pastorally helpful to homosexual couples, this is an error on the part of the Bishops. Holy Scripture presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity (cf. Genesis Romans Corinthians Timothy

And appealing to an argument of common authority in the Church, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church is, Cardinal Arinze quotes several numbers of the Catechism, which state that homosexual persons must be treated with respect, but it also explains that homosexual acts are intrinsically evil. Hence, Cardinal Arinze says that the introduction of such ceremonies is an error. 

Here is the full text of Cardinal Arinze’s statement.

* * *

Statement

by Cardinal Francis Arinze

Seeking a Pastoral Response

September 24, 2022

    It is reported that Flemish Bishops in Belgium, on or around 20 September, 2022, published what they called a liturgical blessing for homosexual couples. They, it is said, regarded this step as “being pastorally close to homosexual persons, for a welcoming Church that excluded no one.”

    Even if the aim is to be pastorally helpful to homosexual couples, this is an error on the part of the Bishops. Holy Scripture presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity (cf. Gen 19:1-29; Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10). Tradition, says The Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2357, “has always declared that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.”

    While persons with homosexual inclination are to be respected and not unjustly discriminated against, they, like every Christian and indeed every human being, are called to chastity (cf CCC, 2358, 2359). The Lord Jesus said to his followers: “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48). That is why the CCC says: “Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection” (CCC, 2359).

    This explains why the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on 15 March 2021 answered that the Church does not have the power to give a blessing to unions of persons of the same sex.

    This is what the Flemish Bishops, and indeed all Bishops and priests, should be teaching. They should be blessing, not homosexual couples, but properly married unions of one man and one woman. Human beings have no power to change the order established by God the Creator. The Church is sent by Christ to all people “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt 28:20). This includes calling people to repentance, sacrifice, chastity and perfection.

    + Francis Card. Arinze

    24 September, 2022