One of the top bishops in the Maltese Catholic Church has said that gay couples who have entered into civil unions will not be turned away from the church – and nor will their children.
Civil unions for gay couples were legalized in Malta in April of last year – as was the right for same-sex couples to adopt children as couples.
Now Bishop Grech has stated the importance that they feel welcome in the church in an interview with the Times of Malta.
‘This year the synod said that families who have homosexual members need to be supported, their decisions respected and not hindered in any way,’ the bishop said.
‘[Gay couples in civil unions] are part of God’s people, and like everybody else they are going through a journey and the Church needs to support them in revealing God’s hidden face. We cannot define such a journey in stages and put up barriers, as the road is wide open to those truly seeking to follow God’s footsteps, regardless of their sexual orientation.’
When asked whether same-sex couples would be allowed to accompany their children to communion, baptisms or confirmations in the church, Bishop Grech said, ‘Yes.’
‘This is already happening and is fully accepted by the Church. The child or baby should not be held accountable for their parents’ deeds, decisions or way of life. Why should the Church deny the opportunity for same-sex parents wishing to give a Christian formation to their adopted children? They are most welcome.’
Bishop Grech said Catholic Church teaching on marriage will not change but said same-sex couples should not feel like they have a second class status in the eyes of their faith community.
‘We are neither condoning nor condemning anybody,’ he said.
‘Marriage can only be referred to when talking about heterosexual couples. This is why there can be different forms of relationship. But this does not mean we are excluding or delivering judgment on other types.’