The Archdiocese of Bologna, headed by Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, President of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, was the scene on June 11th of a kind of mock religious wedding for a homosexual couple. The ceremony was organised in the small church of Budrio, a few kilometres from the city of Bologna.
Pietro Morotti and Giacomo Spagnoli first entered into a same-sex civil union and then had it performed in a Catholic church—a first in Italy. The ceremony was presided over by Father Gabriele Davalli, diocesan head of “family ministry.” All the decorum—flowers, photographers, relatives and friends gathered—had been set up to imitate a real wedding, after the “yes” exchanged at the town hall. In order not to clash head-on with the Catholic Church, which formally forbids the blessing of such unions, the ceremony was transformed into a “mass of thanksgiving” for the two men. Contacted by the Daily Compass, Father Davalli explained his gesture as follows: “Every Mass is a thanksgiving.” With some bad faith, he explained that “the two young men, Giacomo and Pietro, who contracted their civil union, participated just like all the other people who were in the church.”
It is clear, however, that the original intention was to have a blessing. The Daily Compass reports that “after Holy Communion, the two men stood on the altar where they were handed an apron by the priest.” Davalli once again defended himself: “The handing over of this apron signifies that these two young men have always served the group In Cammino with the service of coordination and reception; it was not a liturgical gesture.”
Father Davalli is indeed known for animating the group In Cammino (On the Way), which accompanies Catholic faithful who claim to be LGBT. This is not the first time that the pair have communicated polemically. In 2021, they posted a video on social networks entitled “The Greatest Blessing,” in which they explained that the Church’s blessing extends to all its children, with a very personal interpretation of the action of the Holy Spirit. Morotti said there: “What can the blessing of men add to or take away from the blessing of the Spirit?”
According to Father Davalli, Cardinal Zuppi had been informed of the celebration, but did not see fit to intervene. His positions in favour of homosexual couples are well known. His appointment in 2015 was welcomed by the LGBT communities in France and Italy.