On September 20 this year, the bishops of Flanders, Belgium, approved and published a liturgy to bless and celebrate the union of same-sex couples.
A communiqué titled “Homosexual Persons Are Pastorally Close, for a Hospitable Church That Excludes No One”1 was signed by Cardinal Josef De Kesel of Mechelen-Brussels, Bishop Johan Bonny of Antwerp, Bishop Lodewijk Aerts of Bruges, Bishop Lode Van Hecke of Ghent and Bishop Patrick Hoogmartens of Hasselt.2
They ground their document’s doctrinal part in Pope Francis’s post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris laetitiae. They say they feel “supported by the apostolic exhortation Amoris laetitia, which Pope Francis wrote after the Synod of Bishops of 2015” and that “[i]n Amoris laetitia, Pope Francis explicitly states that every human being, regardless of his sexual orientation, must be respected in his dignity and treated with respect (AL 250).”
For this reason, they add, “[t]he pastoral attention of the ecclesial community concerns first and foremost the homosexual persons themselves.”
They manifest appreciation for those who keep chastity as well as for those who live “as a couple.” The document reads, “Some remain celibate. They deserve our appreciation and support. Others prefer to live as a couple in a durable and faithful union with a partner. They also deserve our appreciation and support.”
The expression “to live as a couple” [“te leven als koppel”] is normally used to indicate a man and a woman who live as husband and wife. However, the liturgical context of the “liturgy” the Flemish Belgian bishops concocted is for two persons of the same sex living “more uxorio.”
Mimicking the Sacrament of Matrimony
Despite its introductory pro-forma disclaimer, the liturgy established by the Flemish prelates mimics the sacramental marriage ceremony between a man and a woman in its structure and words.3
According to the “rubrics,” a same-sex “couple” (two men or two women) position themselves at the head of the community and invoke and take God as a witness of their commitment to unity:
- “Opening word
- Opening prayer
- Scripture reading
- Engagement of the two people involved. Together they express before God how they commit to one another.”4
The engagement formula follows:
“God of love and faithfulness, today we stand before You surrounded by family and friends. We thank You that we could find each other. We want to be there for each other in all circumstances of life. We confidently express here that we want to work towards each other’s happiness day by day. We pray: grant us strength to be faithful to each other and deepen our commitment. . . .”5
Then, the community invokes God, and a priest or deacon blesses the new “couple”:
“Community prayer. The community prays that God’s grace may be operative in them to care for one another and the broader community in which they live. For example:
“God and Father, we surround N. and N. today with our prayer. You know their hearts and the path they will take together from now on. Make their commitment to each other strong and faithful. . .Let the love they share delight them and make them of service in our community. Give us the strength to walk with them, together in the footsteps of your Son and strengthened by your Spirit.”6
There follow final prayers and a blessing.
A Sacrilegious Parody
Although they have established a marriage-like ceremony, the Flemish bishops include what sounds like a mocking disclaimer: “Also, the difference should be clear from what the Church understands as a sacramental marriage.”7
What difference is there between sacramental marriage and a highly solemn act before God, the Church, and witnesses, to “commit to one another”?
Why set up this imitation when the Flemish bishops know this ceremony is not a sacramental marriage? It is a sacrilegious parody of the sacrament of marriage. It is the blessing of an unnatural union.
Although stating that it is not the sacrament of marriage, the bishops, in the final blessing, imply that this union between two homosexuals is good, even holy, and deserving of God’s blessing. The truth is that it is a scandalous union offensive to God.8
Homosexual acts are a sin against the Sixth Commandment. However, they are a particularly grave sin. As Saint Thomas Aquinas says, “If sins of the flesh are commonly censured because by them man is lowered to his animal aspects, so much more must it be said about the sin against nature, by which he falls below the animal nature.”9
Homosexual Heresy or “Homo-Heresy”
Accordingly, it is a heresy to claim that homosexual acts are not sinful and to affirm—by words, acts, gestures, attitudes, or omissions—that they are good and deserve to be blessed by God. It clashes with Revelation in the Scriptures and the teaching of the Church, her Doctors and saints.10
Given their profound nexus, one cannot change the lex agendi (which governs morals) or the lex orandi (which governs divine worship) without modifying the lex credendi (which governs belief). Consequently, whoever accepts homosexual acts as good and exalts them becomes a heretic who cannot claim to be faithful to the truth nor to worship the living and true God Who destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of this sin (see Gen. 18—19).
Hence, Ludwig Cardinal Müller stated,“[T]he declaration of the Flemish episcopate and similar efforts in other parts of the world is a formal transgression of competence with respect to the universal Church and a heretical opposition to the revealed truth of the Creator’s specific blessing (bene-diction) on the marriage of a man and a woman. (Gen 1:28).”11
In 2012, Fr. Dariusz Oko, Ph.D., Professor of Theology at the Pontifical Academy of Theology (Pontifical University John Paul II) in Krakow, published a celebrated article in which he coined the expression “homoheresy” to designate this heresy spreading in the Church. He wrote: “We are dealing not only with the problem of a homoideology and a homolobby outside the Church, but with an analogous problem within it as well, where homoideology takes the form of a homoheresy.”12
Now, the sin of heresy is even graver than the unnatural sin of the flesh. Saint Thomas says it participates in the gravest of sins, the hatred of God, since heresy, a rejection of revealed truth, constitutes an act of revolt against God, by whose authority we believe in what He has revealed. By rejecting the revealed truth, a heretic substitutes himself for God.13
Will the Belgian Bishops Be Punished?
On February 22, 2021, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith responded in the negative as to whether it was possible to bless a homosexual “couple.” The dicastery explained that one could not invoke God’s blessing upon a gravely sinful situation. The pope approved that answer.14
Notwithstanding this Holy See document, blessing ceremonies for homosexual “couples,” such as the Flemish bishops’ liturgy, are spreading and becoming frequent.
Will the bishops, priests, deacons, religious and laity involved in these sacrilegious and implicitly heretical acts be punished? Will they continue to grievously offend God?
In the present papacy, given Pope Francis’s notorious support for homosexuality and transgenderism, such a question runs the risk of being merely rhetorical.15
Let us not forget, however, that Genesis teaches how God punished Sodom and Gomorrah for the sin of homosexuality: “Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah from heaven brimstone and fire from the LORD, and destroyed the cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of those cities, and the fruit of the ground.” (Gen. 19:24—25)
In Fatima, Our Lady warned that if humanity did not stop sinning, a great punishment would come, but her Immaculate Heart would finally triumph.
- Flemish Bishops, “Homoseksuele personen pastoraal nabij zijn: Voor een gastvrije Kerk, die niemand uitsluit” [Being Pastorally Close to Homosexual Persons: For a Welcoming Church That Excludes No One], Sept. 20, 2022, https://www.kerknet.be/sites/default/files/20220920%20PB%20Aanspreekpunt%20-%20Bijlage%201.pdf. (Our translation.)
- Catholic News Service, Bishops in Belgium authorize prayer for committed gay couples, https://www.ncronline.org/news/theology/bishops-belgium-authorize-prayer-committed-gay-couples 10/3/22
- “Also, the difference should be clear from what the Church understands as a sacramental marriage.” Flemish Bishops, “Homoseksuele personen.”
- Flemish bishops. (Our emphasis.)
- Flemish bishops. (Our emphasis.)
- Flemish bishops. (Our emphasis.)
- Flemish bishops. (Our translation).
- Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2357: “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.” Accessed Oct. 10, 2022, https://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P85.HTM. (Our emphasis.)
- St. Thomas Aquinas, Super Epistolam B. Pauli ad Romanos, chap. 1, lec. 8, I˚, http://docteurangelique.free.fr/bibliotheque/ecriture/romains.htm#_Toc201718825 (Our translation).
- See, for example, Gen. 19:1—33; Lev. 19:22; Eph. 5 21—32; Rom. 1:24—32; 1 Cor. 6:9—11; Heb. 13:4. A synthesis of Church teaching about the sin of homosexuality is given in TFP Committee on American Issues, Defending a Higher Law: Why We Must Resist Same-Sex “Marriage” and the Homosexual Movement (Spring Grove, Penn.: The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property, 2012), https://www.tfp.org/defending-higher-law-free-epub-version/
- Maike Hickson, “Cdl. Müller Condemns Belgian Bishops’ Push for Same-Sex Blessings as ‘Heretical Opposition to the Revealed Truth,’” LifeSiteNews.com, Sept. 22, 2022, https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/cdl-muller-condemns-belgian-bishops-push-for-same-sex-blessings-as-heretical-opposition-to-the-revealed-truth/. (Our emphasis.)
- Dariusz Oko, “With the Pope Against the Homoheresy,” Rorate-caeli.blogspot.com, Feb. 16, 2013, http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2013/02/fr-dariusz-okos-major-article-with-pope.html.
- See Summa Theologica, II—II, q. 11, a. 1, c.; idem q. 34, a. 1 e a. 2.
- “Responsum of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to a Dubium Regarding the Blessing of the Unions of Persons of the Same Sex,” Vatican.va, Feb. 22, 2021, https://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20210222_responsum-dubium-unioni_en.html.
- Luiz Sérgio Solimeo, “Francis’s Responsibility Facing Homosexual Heresy and the Transgender Dictatorship,” TFP.org, Sept. 22, 2022, https://www.tfp.org/franciss-responsibility-facing-homosexual-heresy-and-the-transgender-dictatorship/