Page 2, 17th August 2001

17th August 2001
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Page 2, 17th August 2001 — Europe
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Europe

Lutheran to bless gays

THE Danish Lutheran Church will permit homosexual couples to receive an ecclesiastical blessing at the time of their civil wedding, according to government sources.

The ceremonies will require the presence of a mayor to consecrate the civil union and they will be followed by a religious service during which the couple will receive the Lutheran community's blessing.

The Minister of Ecclesiastical Affairs, Johannes Lebech, told the Kristelig Dagblad

newspaper that while the law is in force no impediments will be placed for a joint ceremony including an ecclesiastical blessing.

The decision has drawn protest from some Lutheran bishops. Bishop Jan Lindhardt said that the government ministry's plans were contrary to the line made clear by the bishops in 1997, regarding ceremonies for official unions.

Anger over baptism ruling

FRANCE'S bishops have criticised a decision by the Reformed Church to extend the Holy Supper to the non baptised .

The bishops said that the move would sow doubts about the importance of baptism.

Fr Christian Foster, secretary of the bishops' commission for Christian unity, said the decision was very serious, because to maintain that baptism is not necessary to receive the Protestant Eucharist is to doubt the very meaning of baptism itself.

The decision has caused a split within the Reformed Church. Michael Viot, a former Lutheran pastol based in Paris, has announced his conversion to the Catholic Church in the wake of the proposal's approval.




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