Cardinal Jozef De Kesel of Malines-Brussels, Belgium, Archbishop of Malines-Brussels, says he is open to reflecting on a ‘prayer ceremony’ to seal relationships between gay couples

A spokesman for the Cardinal said that in his effort to answer questions from the working group from the gay community the cardinal said that if gay people still desire a Christian symbol of their proximity, he is thinking more of a celebration of thanksgiving or prayer.

However, this could not be a “religious marriage”, nor an “ecclesiastical blessing that too closely resembles the blessing of a marriage”. As a consequence, this would certainly not involve an exchange of consent sealed by an exchange of rings.

While the Belgian media said that Cardinal De Kesel was adopting a “revolutionary position”, his spokesman emphasised that the cardinal had simply confirmed the position the Belgian Church had already taken on the issue.

Pope: ‘Work out a solution yourselves’

The Vatican has decided not to take a position in the disagreement among German bishops over whether non-Catholic spouses in mixed marriages can receive the Eucharist in some circumstances. On the other hand the German bishops were informed that Pope Francis would like them to work “in a spirit of ecclesial communion” and find a solution that is “as unanimous as possible”.

The disagreement was brought about after more than two-thirds of Germany’s bishops approved a proposal that would, in individual cases, allow Protestant spouses in inter-confessional marriages to receive the Eucharist at Catholic Masses. Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki of Cologne and six other bishops sent a letter to officials at the Vatican asking them whether or not this could be done.

‘I hope to go to Pyongyang soon’

Cardinal Andrea Yeom Soo-jun, Archbishop of Seoul, South Korea, and apostolic administrator of Pyongyang, North Korea, told AsiaNews that the inter-Korean summit between Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un opens up prospects for peace and unity for the entire Korean people. He said that families divided by the war can meet. This opened up the opportunity for the Korean Church to offer a greater commitment to aid and interpersonal relations with the North. While saying that Seoul has never forgotten to pray for the North and its martyrs the cardinal said he is eager to be able to go to the northern capital, to meet the Christians left behind and to celebrate Mass with them.

(Compiled by Fr Joe Borg)


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