Finland’s Catholic Bishop, Teemu Sippo, has warned of an impending rift between the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church and Finland’s Catholic Church over the issue of gay marriage.
Sippo has expressed his concern over recent events in Sweden where the Lutheran Church is set to extend the performance of religious ceremonies to same sex couples. “The Catholic Church cannot bless same-sex couples. It doesn’t view it as morally acceptable,” Sippo stated. “Everything that happens in Sweden usually reaches Finland sooner or later.”
Sippo’s Catholic Church is well known for its conservative views and claims that marriage is a sacrament, according to Finnish broadcaster YLE.
In addition to the condemnation of gay marriage Sippo also denounced the practice of the city of Helsinki and liberal groups of distributing free condoms claiming the move incites sex rather than protects the individual. “Handing out condoms is like telling people to use them. I believe youths should instead be encouraged to practice abstinence,” the Bishop said.
The 62-year-old Teemu Sippo is the first Catholic Bishop of Finnish birth since the Reformation. The last Finnish-born Bishop was Arvid Kurki who died in 1522. Sippo was appointed to the post by Pope Benedict XVI in June, before being ordained last month.
In Finland, the entire country is a single diocese consisting of some 10,000 Catholics.