Via Integra

Fr Mark's progressive Anglo-Catholic take on European Christianity

  • This is my collection of material about the current state of the churches in Europe. I am interested in looking at how they are dealing with the pressing issues of our time: the issues of gay people and women in ministry/ leadership are particularly pressing at the moment, as is the area of declining church attendance.

    I would like to see how Europe's traditional religious institutions are coping with the new Europe currently being forged, in which public opinion and ethical attitudes are becoming inceasingly pan-European, and are evidently presenting a series of strong challenges for the churches.

Finland – the gay issue

Posted by Fr Mark on August 12, 2009

imagesThis article claims that some Finnish Orthodox priests bless same-sex couples.

From Vantaa:

http://www.vantaa.fi/en/i_perusdokumentti.asp?path=1;135;137;2620;218;58993;1858;29614;75210;75231

The Finnish Orthodox Church

In its official statements, the Finnish Orthodox Church has a negative stand on homosexuality. In a comment on registered partnerships in 1992, the Episcopal Conference stated that “the Christian understanding of a family must not be undermined or blurred by extending the concept of family to include constructions that are alien to the Christian ones”. In the late 1990s, the Episcopal Conference concluded that “the goal of ridding the society of injustice is a just one”. In their opinion, however, these attempts to improve the status of gay and lesbian couples should not lead to a situation where their partnerships are equated with “traditional families”.

Overall, the topic of homosexuality has not stirred the same kind of heated debate within the Orthodox Church as it has within the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Some Orthodox clergy have blessed the homes of gay and lesbian couples, and some have even agreed to the blessing of same-sex unions. On the other hand, there have also been isolated cases of parishioners being denied communion because of their same-sex partnerships.

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