The bishop of Assis, Brazil, has temporarily suspended a priest for having officiated at a homosexual union, according to news reports Wednesday.
Last December 7, Father Vicente Paula Gomes presided over the wedding celebration between the two men in party hall, while recalling that it has no sacramental validity in the Catholic Church. “Of course, I cannot give you this sacrament, but I invoke a blessing over you, so you’ll have a duty as companions till the end of your lives,” the priest said after the exchange of vows.
“And don’t forget that God blesses your love now and forever,” the 56-year-old priest added, making the sign of the cross over them.
Several days later, Assis Bishop Argemiro de Azevedo issued a formal decree temporarily suspending him from the exercise of his priestly ministry pending a full investigation.
“Considering the serious allegations against Father Vicente Paula Gomes, who has celebrated a homoaffective union between Luiz Carlos dos Santos and Claudinei Batista de Almeida, an act performed at a party hall in the city of Assis,” the text reads. “I decree the suspension of orders ad cautelam.”
According to the decree, after the initial investigations and the penal suit, the precautionary measure will lose its validity.
In a video recording of the event, Father Gomes admits that he was “trembling a bit,” since that it was the first time he gave such a blessing.
“I’m already thinking about what Bishop Argemiro is going to say on Monday. But as I said earlier, this blessing doesn’t diminish me, nor does it diminish the Church, nor you,” he said.
Brazil legalized homosexual marriage in 2013, following a National Justice Council decision, which ordered notaries of every state to perform same-sex marriages.