Reader question: Following news that the Church of England has approved blessings for same-sex couples, what are the options in France?
The Church of England has voted to offer blessings to same-sex couples but stopped short of approving same-sex marriage.
The decision will “enable same-sex couples to come to church after a civil marriage or civil partnership to give thanks, dedicate their relationship to God and receive God’s blessing”, the C of E said.
Anglican churches do exist in France but the Diocese of Europe has so far not clarified its position on this.
It would do no harm to check with your local church about its position.
French protestants are flexible on the issue. In 2015, delegates to the United Protestant Church of France (EPUdF) voted to allow pastors to bless same-sex marriages.
The Union of Protestant Churches of Alsace and Lorraine followed suit in 2019. In 2021, two female pastors had their civil marriage blessed in a EPUdF church in Montpellier.
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As with the Church of England, pastors in France can choose to opt out and not offer this possibility.
Catholic priests do not have the option at all. In March 2021, the Vatican’s doctrinal office published a statement that “the blessing of homosexual unions cannot be considered licit”.
There have been movements in opposition to this in some countries, however, notably in Germany and in Belgium’s Flanders region.
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