Nordic churches and the gay issue – Church of Finland
Posted by Fr Mark on August 6, 2009
Finnish archbishop calls for “calm” on blessing same-sex unions
From Topnews.in 16.03.09
Helsinki – Archbishop Jukka Parma of the of Finland Monday called for “calm discussion” between supporters and opponents of same-sex and its consequences for the church.
Parma’s remarks were made after he accepted a 200-page report on the charged subject that has been drafted by a working group appointed by the bishops’ conference.
Finland in 2002 made same-sex unions legal. However, has yet to decide on guidelines concerning requests for blessings of same-sex unions.
At the end of 2007 there were some 1,080 Finnish couples who had registered same-sex partnerships.
The working group was set up in 2004 and in its recommendations stated that the bishops’ conference should “produce clear guidelines on how clergy should deal with parishioners’ blessing requests for a registered partnership.”
Some 80 per cent of Finland’s 5.3 million people are estimated to be members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.
In neighbouring Sweden, the Church of Sweden, also a Lutheran church, is also debating the effects of proposed changes in marriage legislation underway.
A majority of Swedish bishops in a recent opinion piece in a Stockholm daily wanted the state to handle the registration “without involving religious or civil rites.”
Since 1995, same-sex couples have been able to form a union in Sweden via registered partnership. The law was later amended to allow them to adopt children.