The archbishop of Luxembourg also said he has a lot of contact with young people in his ministry, and “for young people today, the highest value is nondiscrimination.”
“[What] I constantly see is that young people stop considering the Gospel, if they have the impression that we are discriminating,” he said, recalling a recent encounter with a woman in her 20s who said she wanted to leave the Church because it does not welcome homosexual couples.
“I asked her ‘do you feel discriminated against because you are homosexual?’ and she said ‘No, no! I am not a lesbian, but my closest friend is. I know her suffering, and I don’t intend to be part of those who judge her.’ That made me think a lot,” Hollerich said.
“Everyone is called. No one is excluded: even the divorced and remarried, even homosexuals, everyone. The kingdom of God is not an exclusive club. It opens its doors to everyone, without discrimination,” the cardinal said.
“Sometimes in the Church the accessibility of these groups to the kingdom of God is discussed. And this creates the perception of exclusion in a part of the people of God. They feel excluded and this is not just! Here it is not a question of theological subtleties or ethical dissertations: here it is simply a matter of affirming that the message of Christ is for everyone!”
In 2021, answering the question “Does the Church have the power to give the blessing to unions of persons of the same sex?” the Congregation (now Dicastery) for the Doctrine of the Faith responded, “negative.”
Blessings are sacramentals, the Vatican explained, and “when a blessing is invoked on particular human relationships, in addition to the right intention of those who participate, it is necessary that what is blessed be objectively and positively ordered to receive and express grace, according to the designs of God inscribed in creation and fully revealed by Christ the Lord.”
However, basing their argument on Amoris laetitia, Pope Francis’ 2016 apostolic exhortation on love in the family, Cardinal Jozef De Kesel of Mechelen-Brussels and other bishops of the Flemish-speaking part of Belgium on Sept. 20 published a document titled “Being pastorally close to homosexual persons — for a welcoming Church that excludes no one.”
The bishops of Belgium will meet with Pope Francis and other Vatican officials, including the head of the doctrine office, Cardinal Luis Ladaria, at the end of November.
Postponed several times, this meeting, known as an ad limina, will be the Belgian bishops’ first since 2010.
Hannah Brockhaus is Catholic News Agency's senior Rome correspondent. She grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, and has a degree in English from Truman State University in Missouri.