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The Flemish Proposal Is Not 'In Line With Pope Francis'

In Amoris laetitia, Francis said “there are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family.”

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In an interview with German Catholic media earlier today, Bishop Johan Bonnay of Antwerp said "communion with the Pope is sacred to me" and argued the Flemish bishops' proposed rubric for blessing homosexual couples is “in line with Pope Francis."

Bishop Bonnay and several other Flemish prelates released a proposed liturgical blessing for same-sex couples last week in defiance of a March 2021 responsum from the then-Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which declared that God "does not and cannot bless sin" and "the Church does not have, and cannot have, the power to bless unions of persons of the same sex." That CDF responsum was approved by Pope Francis.

The Flemish bishops use the eighth chapter of Francis's marriage-and-family encyclical Amoris laetitia in their attempt to justify the proposal. But in Amoris, Francis said “there are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family."

The Flemish proposal concedes that stable same-sex unions are "not a Church marriage," but argue that those unions should be blessed by the Church since they can "be a source of peace and shared happiness for those involved." The Francis-approved responsum notes that the presence of "positive elements" in same-sex relationships “cannot justify these relationships and render them legitimate objects of an ecclesial blessing, since the positive elements exist within the context of a union not ordered to the Creator’s plan.”

The outlets and talking heads eager to paint traditionalist critics of the current pontificate as "dissenters" and "schismatics" have not, thus far, had much to say about Bishop Bonnay's defiance of the pope, Scripture, and the bimillennial teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. I wonder why.

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