22 January 2024, by Emily Proctor

In response to a recent decision by the Vatican to allow same-sex couples to receive blessings in church, bishops in the Netherlands have spoken out in support of the change in the church’s stance.

Dutch bishops state that the Catholic church is welcoming

Several Dutch bishops have spoken out in support of the news and described the church as a “welcoming church” which does not want to deprive anyone of the support and power of God. The church stands in support of “a simple prayer” should be possible for people in same-sex partnerships, and also people who are divorced but are “returning to married life”.

According to NOS, the church’s stance on marriage between same-sex partners remains unchanged though, with bishops emphasising that as far as they are concerned, marriage is only possible between a man and a woman and cannot be broken. “Irregular relationships of any kind encounter intrinsic moral objections,” the bishops said.

Vatican expert hails change as a cautious step towards inclusivity

A Vatican expert at Trouw newspaper called the change in stance of the Dutch Catholic church a “cautious step towards inclusivity”, though adding that “things are not suddenly going to be completely different.”

Church historian Peter Nissen told NOS that he does not think much will change either. “It is an institution that is 2,000 years old, you cannot simply change anything. But it is a step forward: towards more respect, recognition and appreciation for people in a homosexual relationship.”

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