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Bishop Johan BonnyBisdom Antwerpen / YouTube

(LifeSiteNews) — The notably heterodox Bishop Johan Bonny has doubled down on his claim that Pope Francis approves of Belgium’s bishop same-sex “blessings,” echoing previous comments he has made in recent months.

In a recent interview published on — the the official website of the German bishops — Bonny answered questions regarding his support for same-sex “blessings” — a position that puts him in direct opposition to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) and the Catholic Faith.

READ: Cardinal Müller: Belgian bishops’ homosexual ‘blessings’ are ‘heresy and schism’

Rebuffing any criticisms of his position opposing the Vatican’s teaching, Bonny stated that the question was “about the Pope.”

“Not every man in Rome is the Pope. I have personally spoken twice with the Pope on these issues,” he said. “From my conversations I know what my relationship with Pope Francis looks like – we speak ‘cum petro et sub petro’. But not the whole Vatican is ‘cum petro et sub petro’.”

Continuing, Bonny hinted at discord within the Vatican on the issue of same-sex “blessings”:

There are also different positions and developments in the Vatican. The theological faculties in Rome also belong to the Vatican and the Catholic Church in Rome. Rome is not just a document or a cardinal. No, Rome is also unity in diversity.

At this point, he reissued his statement regarding Pope Francis’ support for same-sex “blessings,” after Bonny and his fellow Belgian bishops became the first group of Catholic bishops to produce guidelines for such practices.

Citing “personal conversations” with Pope Francis, Bonny stated he would “not say publicly what and how he said anything, but I know that I and we are not going against the Pope. This is very important for me and for the other bishops in Flanders.”

Bonny had made a similar statement in September last year, when he claimed that the Pope supported the Belgian bishops’ same-sex “blessings” guidelines. “And I know that our guidelines for the blessing of homosexual couples, which we recently published, are in line with Pope Francis,” he said, adding that this was important to him “because communion with the Pope is sacred to me.”

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The president of the Pontifical Academy for Life (PAV) has described assisted suicide as sometimes being the “greatest common good concretely possible” contrary to the Catholic Church's strenuous condemnation of the practice.

This betrayal of the Catholic faith by Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia is not for the first time, with the PAV repeatedly causing scandal under his watch by:

  • recently appointing a notorious pro-abortion atheist to the organization
  • claiming contraception and artificial insemination are sometimes acceptable
  • insisting that priests could accompany people through assisted-suicide, and
  • that Italy's pro-abortion law is a “pillar” of the country's social life.

SIGN: Pope Francis must remove Abp. Paglia from the Pontifical Academy for Life

“Personally, I would not practice suicide assistance,” Archbishop Paglia told an Italian journalism conference last week, “but I understand that legal mediation may be the greatest common good concretely possible under the conditions we find ourselves in.”

Accepting an anti-life Italian court ruling that specified when assisted-suicide is permitted, the archbishop claimed “it is not to be ruled out that in our society a legal mediation is feasible that would allow assistance to suicide under the conditions specified by Constitutional Court Sentence 242/2019...”

From the outset of his presentation in Perugia, Paglia also undermined the authority of the Catholic Church on matters of faith and morals, stating: “First of all, I would like to clarify that the Catholic Church is not that it has a ready-made, prepackaged package of truths, as if it were a dispenser of truth pills.” 

SIGN: Abp. Paglia must be removed from the Pontifical Academy for Life

The PAV issued a statement on Monday trying to clarify the archbishop's remarks, insisting that Paglia “reiterates his ‘no’ towards euthanasia and assisted suicide, in full adherence to the Magisterium”.

However, far from denouncing Paglia’s words, the PAV unsurprisingly supported its president. Referencing the Italian court ruling which partially decriminalized euthanasia by outlining exceptions to its illegality, the PAV stated it was in the context of this ruling that Paglia had made his comments.

In this precise and specific context, Msgr. Paglia explained that in his opinion a ‘legal mediation’ (certainly not a moral one) in the direction indicated by the Sentence is possible, maintaining the crime and the conditions under which it is decriminalized, as the same Constitutional Court has asked Parliament to legislate. 

The PAV’s fudging of the issue was met with consternation from several Catholic commentators, with liturgist Matthew Hazell, who had highlighted Paglia’s original comments, asking “How hard is it for the @PontAcadLife to just say ‘sorry’ for scandalising the faithful? Indeed, how hard is it to actually adhere to the teaching of the Church on life issues? Are you so incapable of reading the signs of the times & interpreting them in the light of the Gospel?”

SIGN: Abp. Paglia's presidency of the Pontifical Academy for Life is untenable

It's vital that the Church and PAV push back against the culture of death, rather than trying to accommodate it and accept a world that where the vulnerable are helped to kill themselves.

Be part of pushing back against the tide and making it clear that there is no room for confusion or betrayal when it comes to the sanctity of human life and the infallibilty of Catholic teaching on the matter. 



Abp. Paglia defends assisted-suicide as 'greatest common good possible' for dying people - LifeSiteNews

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READ: Belgian bishop claims Pope Francis approves of blessing ceremony for homosexual couples

He continued:

It is the personal responsibility that the Pope has given us bishops and that he also supports. However, the same topics do not have to and cannot be discussed worldwide at all times. Moreover, the Pope does not have to write everything down on paper. Just as I as a bishop do not record every conversation on paper.

Following the Belgian bishops’ ad limina visit to Rome in November 2022, LifeSiteNews contacted the Belgium bishops’ conference asking if the bishops had received any criticism for their document supporting same-sex “blessings” during their visit, since Cardinal Jozef De Kesel’s comments made it appear that they had not. A spokesman replied that the document was merely about “accompaniment and within it the opportunity to pray together.”

Bonny himself gave a key intervention in the German Synodal Way’s vote to move forward with same-sex “blessings.” The heterodox participants of the Synodal Way highlighted how Pope Francis had taken no action against the Belgian bishops for their promotion of same-sex “blessings.”

Speaking in Frankfurt, Bonny said that Francis had neither approved nor disproved of their Belgian text, but instead said it was a matter of pastoral concern for the local bishops to decide. “We did, from a pastoral point of view, what we are supposed to do,” said Bonny of the same-sex “blessings” document.

READ: ‘Sins against Christ’: Cdls. Burke, Müller slam German bishops’ approval of same-sex ‘blessings’

The fallout over the German Synodal Way’s various votes has been of more significance than the notable silence from the Vatican that followed the Flemish bishops’ heterodoxy. But in his recent interview, Bonny condemned the Vatican for its response:

This tension between Germany and Rome is not helpful. Also in Rome they should listen better somewhere and not be so critical. That doesn’t help anyone. There are more prejudices than judgments in this discussion. There are more prejudices, personal injuries, personal stories from the German bishops and cardinals in Rome. This is a mixture of their personal experiences and personal hurts with theological issues and theological diversity.

Expanding on his personal support for same-sex “blessings,” Bonny also hinted at future change coming from Rome: 

And they know that in Rome too, that things can’t stay like this. If we want to be a missionary church that brings the good news of Jesus to the fore in a new way here in the West, then we should also find a solution to the issue of homosexuality.