Published: Saturday, June 30, 2007
Father Antonio Osorio is inviting lesbian and gay couples to be blessed at St. Saviour's Anglican Church tomorrow.
"They need to know they are not second-class Christians," said Osorio. "I am going to bless them as a group because they are faithful and beautiful Christians. And if they want to be blessed as individual couples, I will do it too."
The blessing, which will take place at the 10 a.m. mass, is not a marriage ceremony. Osorio will also ask his gay parishioners to bless him. "It will mean in God's eyes they are equal to me," he said.
"The Anglican Church, in my opinion, needs to stop playing games," said Osorio, who attended the national meeting and voted in favour of blessing same-sex unions.
"I am very pleased the national church has said blessing same-sex unions is not in conflict with the doctrine of the church," he said. "I believe blessing these unions is a justice issue. Now is the time to start blessing same-sex couples. I have done it and I intend to keep doing it."
Archdeacon Bruce Bryant-Scott of the Diocese of British Columbia said Osorio is "pushing the envelope" but not crossing any lines. "He knows what the guidelines are. He knows what's acceptable."
The church does not want to discriminate against its gay members, said Bryant-Scott. "There may have been occasions when people were refused communion or when baptism was refused to children of same-sex couples -- and that's not on," said the archdeacon.
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