A group of Flemish-speaking bishops in Belgium is hoping to make the Catholic Church more welcoming to the LGBTQ community by harnessing the power of prayer.

On Tuesday, they released a proposed guide for services honoring same-sex couples, which includes suggested “prayers, scriptural readings and expressions of commitment,” according to The Associated Press.

The Belgian bishops believe the “moment of prayer” would help their church be more inclusive without violating Catholic teachings that define marriage as “a lifelong union between a man and woman,” the article noted.

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The proposed prayers, included in a document called “Being pastorally close to homosexual persons: For a welcoming church that excludes no one,” are notable since the Vatican has repeatedly said that priests cannot bless same-sex couples, America magazine reported.

“The church teaches that gay and lesbian people must be treated with dignity and respect but considers homosexual activity to be morally illicit,” America reported.

The Belgian bishops sidestep the ban on blessings “by suggesting that lay people coordinate the prayer services,” the article said.

A spokesman for the group told The Associated Press that the proposed prayer liturgy does not amount to a blessing or a marriage service.

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“There is no blessing, no exchange of consent, there is nothing like a marriage,” Tommy Scholtes said.

But the proposed text does include a request for God to be with the couple and strengthen their commitment, The Associated Press reported.

“Unless I’m missing something in the translation, while the prayer is not a formal ratification of same-sex marriage, when you invoke the mercy of God on anyone, you are asking God to bless them,” the Rev. James Martin told The Associated Press.

When contacted by Catholic News Service, the Vatican press office declined to comment on the Belgian bishops’ proposal.

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