.- The Catholic and Orthodox Churches of Sweden have responded with “sadness” to the Swedish Lutheran Church General Synod’s decision to hold homosexual “weddings” in churches, saying the move departs from the Christian tradition and will widen the gap between the churches.
Fr. Fredrik Emanuelson, head of ecumenical efforts in the Swedish Catholic Church, joined Orthodox representative Fr. Misha Jaksic in a statement that said the churches learned of the Lutherans’ decision “with sadness.”
“It is a swing away not only from Christian tradition but also from the point of view on the nature of marriage which is typical of all religions,” they said, according to SIR News.
The Lutherans’ General Synod expresses a “radically different vision” from the way in which the Church and Christians understand marriage, they added.
The spokesmen said they were not surprised by the decision because it had been preceded by a long debate.
According to SIR, the church debate started at the beginning of 2009 after a Swedish law that granted civil marriage to homosexuals took effect.
“None of us want to annul ecumenical dialogue with the Swedish church,” the joint Catholic-Orthodox statement continued. “However, this decision of the Church of Sweden widens the gap.”
The statement concluded by saying that talks are “more important than ever” to fulfill Christ’s desire for Christian unity.
The Church of Sweden is the largest Christian denomination in the Nordic country.