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It took 50 years, but after the post–Humanae Vitae earthquake within the Church, bishops are now defying the Vatican on homosexuality.
In tonight's In-Depth Report, Church Militant's Paul Murano surveys this new level of disobedience against Christ, and the response to it.
Taking a page from German bishops, Belgium's Catholic bishops are now openly defying the Church by giving blessings to same-sex couples. This, despite the Vatican's doctrinal office reconfirming that the Church does not have power to bless so-called same-sex unions — because God cannot bless sin.
Nevertheless, the Flemish bishops of Belgium have upped the ante on their German dissident counterparts by devising a liturgy to celebrate homosexual unions.
Joe Gallagher, co-host, Church Militant Evening News: "The rite asks God to bless and perpetuate this commitment of love and fidelity between homosexual couples."
The Flemish bishops also announced a new ministry to be a "contact point" to the so-called LGBT community. The ministry's coordinator is touting the 'spirit of Pope Francis' to justify his new position.
"It's really in the spirit of our pope to say, 'Make a ministry, give attention to the people on the peripheries.'"
Since feigning a blessing on same-sex couples clearly contradicts Church authority and Christian anthropology, some prelates are not remaining silent about this apostasy.
Bp. Joseph Strickland, diocese of Tyler, Texas: "There's movement, as you said, to change the teaching. The Church can't change reality. It's just the truth."
Cardinal Francis Arinze, former head of the Vatican's liturgy office, said Saturday, "Human beings have no power to change the order established by God the creator. Even if the aim is to be pastorally helpful ... this is an error on the part of the bishops."
A Spanish bishop, José Ignacio Munilla, recently warned on a radio show the Flemish bishops are being disingenuous and doing something incompatible with what the Church allows.
And Cdl. Eijk of Utrecht in the Netherlands is calling on the Flemish bishops to obey the Church and withdraw their document.
But as the disobedience morphs into scandal, nothing is being heard from the Vatican — publicly at least. Some are guessing this will be hammered out during the Belgium bishops' scheduled annual visit with the Pope in a few weeks.
Pope Francis: "No one should be marginalized for this."
This is the second time in recent Church history clerics publicly dissented from the Church's moral doctrine. The first came after Humanae Vitae, which reaffirmed condemnation of contraception. Logically, the two are connected. Severing the link between sex and baby-making, with contraception, inevitably leads to rationalizing homosexual behavior.
Belgium is a multilingual country. Flemish, which is a dialect of Dutch, is spoken in the northern part of Belgium. The country's French-speaking bishops to the south did not take part in producing the same-sex ritual.