The Christian Association of Lesbians, Gays, Transsexuals and Bisexuals of Catalonia (ACGIL) has been since its foundation, which is now 30 years old, connecting same-sex couples of believers with priests that, departing from the official line of the Vatican, bless these unions, albeit clandestinely for fear of reprisals.
This is confirmed to Efe by the councilor of ACGIL Jordi Valls, who explains that from the association they put in contact to “several couples every year” who want their union to be blessed also in a religious way with “5 or 6 trusted priests” who are in charge of carrying out the action in the most absolute privacy.
Once in contact, it is the priest who is in charge of organizing everything with the couple, although always with the most absolute discretion, without photos and without any kind of public.
These blessings, depending on the circumstances, can be celebrated in the couple’s home or in the church where the priest is assigned.
None of these priests has wanted to make statements to Efe for fear of reprisals: “For an action like this they can lose their livelihood, “says Valls.
“We have no evidence that any priest has been called to order for blessing unions of people,” a spokesman for the Archbishopric of Barcelona told Efe, referring to the statement made by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the past month of March.
In this statement, the Vatican explained that same-sex couples could not be blessed by the church because they do not respond to the “designs of God”, although since the arrival of Pope Francis to the Holy See they recognize that they find “positive elements” in those relationships.
This position of the Vatican was precisely what caused the rebellion of more than 200 German parishes that opened their doors to bless these unions under the ‘Liebe gewinnt (Love wins)’ campaign, 2,600 clergymen from all over the country joined.
ACGIL has no evidence that there is another organization in Spain that puts same-sex couples and priests in contact.
A spokesperson for the LGTBI CRISHOM Christian Community de Madrid has clarified to Efe that They do not do it because “it is not good for the priests” who support them because “it puts them in a very critical situation with the bishops.”
In the same way, the councilor of the ACGIL denounces that the Church makes no effort to contact this group of faithful: “We have written letters to all the bishops of Catalonia for 30 years and only two have responded to us”, Valls complains, who also tells that he managed to speak with the archbishop of Barcelona, Cardinal Juan José Omella, after a mass in 2017.
“We meet a person very pigeonholed in dogma but we agreed to speak to see how this issue is dealt with“recalls Valls, who denounces that he is still waiting for the call.
From the Archbishopric they assure that they have no record of any conversation but that the cardinal, who is also president of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, has “no problem” in which the LGTBI people be welcomed by the Church because “the doors of a temple are not closed to anyone.”
Valls believes that the current situation is “the result of deeply retrograde popes who did a lot of damage, like John Paul II and Benedict XVI, and here in Spain no bishop supported because Rouco Varela was there and no one dared to break the official position of the Church” .
“At the grassroots level, of priests, there is no problem”concludes Valls, who stresses that they have decided to stay within the Church “because it is not a private club and it is as much our home as that of the bishops.”