From De Standaard 05-05-2018:
Cardinal De Kesel sees a 'service of thanksgiving' as an alternative marriage for homosexuals.
An exchange of rings is not possible, a prayer service is possible. Cardinal De Kesel wants to open up to the question of LGTB-believers for recognition as a couple.
'The Catholic Church must respect homosexuals and lesbians more, also in their sexuality.' That is was cardinal Jozef de Kesel said in a discussion with the LGTB community. The statement goes beyond the official doctrine of the church: homosexualitiy is allowed, but not in practice. What meands sexual abstinence.
De Kesel received a delegation of the LGTB community Mechelen in the archdiocesan palace, for a 'casual and smooth' talk about the wellbeing of LGTB. 'Not so long ago, you would not have been welcome here' was told at the beginning of the discussion.
About the official doctrine of Rome about LGTB, says De Kesel: 'Everyone knows that that is not tenable anymore. Pope Francis said a while ago: 'Who am I to Judge, people that seek God?" That's not nothing, that statement. Ten years ago, those words would have been unthinkable. They represent his personal conviction. Francis puts his mark. That cannot be reversed. Even not with a new pope. Although I admit that is was not well received everywhere.' De Kesel concluded: 'Times change, and so does the Church'.
Geert De Kerpel, spokesman of the cardinal, stresses that is was 'a personal encounter'. 'De Kesel wants to accompany homosexuals and help them in their situation'. He also spoke about their relationship and the difference with a christian marriage between man and wife. If the Chruch is reluctant in her point of view, it is because she wants to stress the great value of marriage and the family.
Departure of Léonard
From his start as archbishop De Kesel has a very moderate view on homosexuality. In his first press conference, he advocated 'more respect and esteem'.
The Belgian bishops in general are for a great openness, since the departure of André-Joseph Léonard, the former archbishop. The bishop of Antwerp, Johan Bonny, advocated that the Church should recognise 'the loving relationship beween homosexuals'.
But advocating more respect, does not automatically equalize with a man-woman relationship, which remains the norm in the Catholic Church. And certainly not in its symbolic practises. A marriage in the Church for LGTB is even for De Kesel, in spite of his progressiveness, a bridge too far. A sacramental blessing is nog possible, because it would resemble too much a marriage.
If homosexuals want a symbol, De Kesel advocates a 'service of thanksgiving' or a 'prayer service'. But an exchange of rings is not possible.
Vrije vertaling: Volgens de kardinaal is de openbaring van Christus op aarde afhankelijk van tijd en plaats .... en dus is 'het Katholieke geloof volgens Jozef De Kesel' even onredelijk als de islam.
Alweer een episode uit 'de kardinaal met het charisma van een slappe dweil'...