The former Metropolitan of Brussels retired to the small Alpine town of Savins-le-Lac, in the south of France, and has been a parish vicar for eight years. He administers the sacraments in the five branch churches. He admits he consciously left Belgium to honor his successors.
At the same time, he insists that the Church in the West must not only have the courage to take a stand on important issues, but also convince others that it is right. – We must take the initiative and go to meet people who do not believe, are indifferent or follow other religions. We need conversion following the example of Saint. Paul – said Archbishop Leonard.
A former primate of Belgium warns
The superior affirms that he himself acted in this way during his pastoral ministry, first at Namur and then at Brussels. And while he faced fierce opposition, he never regretted taking a clear stand, even on controversial issues like abortion or homosexuality. – Sexuality, by its very definition, is based on the difference and complementarity of masculinity and femininity. It makes no sense to equate the two, said the former primate of Belgium. – We must respect people who live with this trend and those who practice homosexuality. But when I was a university professor, I visited many homosexual students, at least female students, and helped them live chastely – said Archbishop Leonard, recalling that there are many reasons why people do not marry today. : Health, Family, Career. – but to bless homosexuality and make it seem completely normal is simply fraud. Therefore, we should never compare these relationships with marriages, and it certainly does not mean that we should not respect these people, added the former Metropolitan of Brussels.
Before becoming a bishop, Archbishop Leonard worked at the University of Louvain and was one of the leading Belgian philosophers. In this capacity, he also educated future priests. According to him, only a clear vision of priesthood and stability in faith clarified by prayer will attract young people to seminaries. Future priests should also be clear about the celibacy they undertake to fully belong to God. However, he considers the ongoing debate about the abolition of celibacy to be mobilizing.
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