CV NEWS FEED // A Latvian archbishop at Wednesday’s synod press conference said that condoning “living in sin” is not authentic Christian love, after a reporter asked whether synod delegates have discussed the blessing of same-sex unions.
Archbishop Zbignevs Stankevics said that when discussing blessings, it is impossible for the Church to condone sin.
“If a homosexual comes [for a blessing] as an individual and says that he wants to live in the grace of God, I see that there are no contradictions in terms of praying for this person and helping him and blessing him,” Stankevics said. “If two come and they say ‘we want to live in chastity’… we can pray with them and bless them to help them live in chastity.”
“But if two persons come while they live together [as if married] and say ‘we live together’ and want to receive a blessing, here I see that there is a big problem because this way we would bless living in sin,” he said.
“The official attitude of the Church towards homosexuals was expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church,” he said, adding that same-sex attracted people are called to live in chastity.
Stankevics noted the Church’s teaching that same-sex attraction is not a sin in and of itself, but rather, sin is what follows when a person willingly acts against truth. He also said that any sexual relationship outside of marriage is a sin, whether between a man and a woman or between two same-sex attracted individuals.
Stankevics reminded those at the press conference that it is important to include everyone in the Church, because we have all sinned.
“As I was speaking with a homosexual in Latvia a couple years ago, I remember saying ‘I’m sorry the Church in past centuries treated homosexuals not as a mother, but as a stepmother,’ because the Church is a mother to everyone—also to sinners because we are all sinners,” Stankevics said.
Stankevics said that while the Church must welcome same-sex attracted people without judging them, it is not loving to withhold the truth from them.
“True love cannot be separated from truth. If love is separated from truth it’s no longer real love because it becomes just being permissive,” he said, adding that avoiding confrontation with same-sex attracted people actually places their souls in danger.
“I myself went through a pastoral conversion,” Stankevics said. “In the past, I just judged these people. But by looking at the way that the Holy Father encourages us to say ‘who am I to judge others?’, little by little, I started understanding that we have to go through a process to discover that Jesus says we must love not just our neighbor, but also our enemy.”
“Homesexuals are my neighbors. I must love them. But how?” Stankevics asked. “Love in truth; not in a love which is just permissiveness.”