D e Tijdspoke with Godfried Danneels following his eightieth birthday.
There have been months of massive demonstrations against gay marriage, which has been accepted by parliament. In France on Wednesday, there was the first legally blessed marriage , heavily protected from protesters. When asked what he thinks of the attitude of his church in this discussion Danneels says, "You know what the Church says about these problems, I do not want to go against it. But I think it's a positive development that states open up free civil marriage for homosexuals if they want. "
Can you not as a human being identify with this orientation?
Cardinal Godfried Danneels,
The reasoning goes like this: "Can you not as a human being identify with this orientation? I think there is a clear evolution in the thinking of the church. Also towards people who commit suicide, for example. Previously, that condemned you to be not being buried in a cemetery - of course you cannot do such things! It is much more nuanced thinking about the person in their totality rather than being fixated on the moral principle. '
Same-sex marriage is currently politically sensitive in several European countries.The British Parliament is considering the opening up of civil marriage to persons of the same sex. In Paris, hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets against gay marriage. Recently historian Dominique Venner put a bullet through his head at the high altar of Notre Dame in protest against gay marriage. Nineteen countries, including Belgium, have already opened civil marriage , dozens of other countries will follow in the coming years.
On what is legal, what one can do legitimately and legally, the Church has nothing to say.
Danneels has a reputation of being in the vanguard of the troops. As in 2004, when he set the Vatican in turmoil by declaring that someone who is HIV positive would be better to use a condom during sex. About gay marriage, he is clear, albeit cautiously: "It is positive if states want to regulate the relationships between people of the same sex but for the Church it is not real marriage as between man and woman. So you have a different name cited in the dictionary sites. But on what is legal, what one can do legitimately and legally, the Church has nothing to say.. "
The statements fit in with a change in the Vatican.
Paul Van Geest,
Professor of Church History, University of Tilburg
“What Cardinal Danneels says is remarkable. Here he creates a noteworthy opening, because the institution of the Church is opposed to a civil marriage, that regulates and legitimises sexual relationships between people of the same sex' "says Rik Torfs, professor of canon law and rector-elect of the university. Paul Van Geest, professor of church history and his colleague at the University of Tilburg, gives perspective."There is the story put out by the New York Times that the current Pope, Jorge Bergoglio, as archbishop of Buenos Aires behind the scenes campaigned for legal rights for gay couples and civil union, a fight he lost in the Argentine Episcopal Conference. (See Cathcon- witness inside the Episcopal Conference) ;The statements fit in with a change in the Vatican. "
Also Archbishop Andre Leonard sides with Danneels, "The position of Danneels is that of the Archbishop ', says Jeroen Moens, a spokesman for the archdiocese."Monsignor Leonard has no problem with a legal commitment between gay men. But he would not call it marriage. Let us say that Monsignor Leonard endorses a gay commitment. Marriage happens before the Church in the complementarity of man and woman. Such complementarity is impossible between two people of the same sex. "
Let us say that Monsignor Leonard endorses a gay commitment.
Danneels, in other words, is not the only ecclesiastical dignitary who recently reached out to gay couples. Archbishop Piero Marini, the Papal Master of Ceremonies promoted by Pope Benedict (Cathcon- well, not exactly) recently remarked that "it is time to recognize that many couples suffer because their civil rights are not recognized.
Similar words were spoken earlier this year Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family - before he was rebuffed
Source Cathcon- Archbishop Leonard is in theory at least meant to be a conservative. Like origami, turn a conservative inside out and you get a liberal. You cannot do that with tradition. See also German Cardinal defends mutually caring homosexual relationships