On Tuesday, Belgian bishops published “Being pastorally close to homosexuals: For a welcoming Church that excludes no one.”

Bishop of Flanders Jozef De Kesel says their aim is to “structurally anchor the Church’s pastoral commitment to homosexual persons and couples.”

The document says same-sex couples “need appreciation and support” for choosing to live “in lasting and faithful union with a partner.”

“This relationship, although not a Church marriage, can also be a source of peace and shared happiness for those involved.”

It concluded with a “Prayer for love and fidelity,” seen as a liturgical blessing of same-sex couples.

“During pastoral meetings, the request is often made for a moment of prayer to ask God that He may bless and perpetuate this commitment of love and fidelity. What content and form that prayer can concretely take are best discussed by those involved with a pastoral leader. Such a moment of prayer can take place in all simplicity. Also, the difference should remain clear from what the Church understands by a sacramental marriage.”

They suggested an opening prayer and Scripture reading, followed by the couple expressing “before God how they are committed to one another.”

After a “prayer of the community” asking “that God’s grace may work in them to care for each other and for the wider community in which they live,” intercessions, an Our Father, a final prayer, and blessing conclude the blessing.

The Achdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels says they didn’t inform the Vatican of the prayer before its publication.

The document was published a month after the Swiss Bishops’ Conference has published a document for the upcoming Synod on Synodality that says the Church is suffering from clericalism, excludes LGBTQ people, and denies equality women to women.

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