BRUSSELS, June 5, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Belgian media last week claimed that the new archbishop of Brussels, widely hailed in the Catholic Church and excoriated by the secular media as a “conservative”, said through a spokesman that he has “no objections to civil unions between gay men.”
This week, however, archdiocesan media spokesman Jeroen Moens told LifeSiteNews.com that his comments had been “misrepresented” in the press, and that the archbishop does not support homosexual civil unions.
Moens was quoted by the Dutch language online news site De Tijd saying that Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard, has “no objection against civil unions between gay men,” adding: “Do not call it gay marriage, but a gay relationship.”
Moens had reportedly said, “Let us say that Monsignor Leonard endorses a gay commitment.”
The comments were published as a response to an interview with Leonard’s predecessor, the notoriously liberal Cardinal Godfried Danneels, who told De Tijd that he supports gay “marriage” legislation as a “positive” development, even as he said that the Catholic Church doesn’t view gay marriage as “true” marriage.
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Moens confirmed that he had told De Tijd that it “is not true that Monsignor Leonard is homophobic. He has no problem with homosexuals and he is not against a legal commitment.” But he told LifeSiteNews.com this was not meant to imply that Leonard endorses homosexual behavior or Belgium’s gay “marriage” legislation in any form.
He added that the position of the archbishop “is that there’s nothing against civil arrangements between two persons concerning their property.”
“It’s allowed to have an agreement between any two persons,” he said. “This is not a civil union and not a marriage. Everyone is free to make some kind of agreement concerning their property.”
This, he emphasized, could be a “commitment between any kind of persons, but it’s not a ‘relationship’ and it’s not marriage. An aunt can make an agreement with her niece, a priest with some trusted person,” to dispose of and organize their personal property.
Moens had told De Tijd that in the eyes of the Church, marriage happens “in the complementarity of man and woman. Such complementarity is impossible between two people of the same sex.”
Archbishop Leonard has long been a target by homosexualists, radical feminists and other opponents of Catholic teaching on sexuality, suffering physical attacks on more than one occasion. In 2008 some homosexualist activist groups in Belgium tried to have him charged under anti-discrimination laws after he commented that homosexuality is a psycho-social disorder. He was appointed by Benedict XVI to Brussels as a response to the archdiocese having gained the reputation as one of the most “liberal” Catholic dioceses in the western world.
In April the archbishop made headlines when a group of topless gay protestors assaulted him at a Brussels University.
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Meanwhile, Leonard's predecessor Cardinal Danneels told De Tijd that the Church has “nothing to say” about the direction taken by civil laws on marriage.
“It is positive if states want to regulate the relationships between people of the same sex,” Danneels said, “but for the Church it is not real marriage as between man and woman.”
Moens told LSN, “Neither the cardinal nor the archbishop are in favour of homosexual civil unions.”