Bishops bless same-sex couples in Flanders and no one bats an eyelid

This would have been major news a decade ago

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk
author: Grzegorz Górny
Belgian Bishop Johan Bonny (AP Photo/Yves Logghe).

There it is in black and white on the webpages of the Belgian Episcopate. The text of a liturgical blessing for same-sex couples, which is being delivered in Catholic churches in Flanders, Belgium. In this way, five Flemish clerics, Cardinal Josef De Kesel (Malines-Bruksela), and Bishops Johan Bonny (Antwerp), Lodewijk Aerts (Brugge), Lode Van Hecke (Gandawa), and Patrick Hoogmartens (Hasselt) have broken the longstanding teachings of the Church on homosexuality.

If this had happened a decade ago, it would have been news and would have caused a shock within the Church. Many Catholics would have been outraged at a betrayal of their faith and heresy. The liberals would have praised the bishops’ courage and held them up as an example to follow. 

But in the world of today, there is no reaction. No seismic shift.

The reporting of it is purely matter of fact. Nothing special. Neither the liberals nor conservatives are getting excited or outraged, and protests are confined to individuals on niche portals. 

It is interesting to explore what has happened over the last 10 years for such news to no longer cause a stir or be a surprise. It is germane to ask if faith is treated seriously anymore.

But then, if a priest holds a mass in swimming trunks on a beach with a blow-up mattress as an altar, and the Pope has participated in a pagan ritual in Canada, I suppose the act of blessing same-sex couples may not cause much of a ripple.

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