Bishop urges Catholic Church to accept gay relationships

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A Belgium bishop has said the Catholic Church should accept and recognise relationships between two people of the same sex.

The Bishop of Antwerp, Johan Bonny, signalled his approval of same-sex relationships in an interview with the De Morgen newspaper.

“There should be recognition of a diversity of forms,” he said, adding that same-sex couples should be able to receive a blessing in church.

“We have to look inside the Church for a formal recognition of the kind of interpersonal relationship that is also present in many gay couples.

“Just as there are a variety of legal frameworks for partners in civil society, one must arrive at a diversity of forms in the Church”.

Bishop Bonny added: “The intrinsic values are more important to me than the institutional question. The Christian ethic is based on lasting relationships where exclusivity, loyalty, and care are central to each other.”

Bishop Bonny made headlines in September when he issued a letter to the Vatican saying the Church urgently needs to connect with contemporary society, showing more respect for gay people, divorced people and modern kinds of relationships.

In December, Pope Francis said the Catholic Church must help parents to stand by their gay children – but that same-sex marriage “never crossed the minds” of bishops when they gathered at the Vatican in October.