June 15, 2021

Hundreds of German priests bless thousands of gay couples after the Vatican’s ‘no’ to homosexual unions


“I want to celebrate love with these blessings, gay love is a good thing. The homophobia in my church makes me angry and ashamed.” The Jesuit Jan Korditschke is a parish priest in a parish in Berlin, one of the more than 200 that have opened its doors throughout Germany, to bless all couples who want to feel accompanied in their relationship from their faith, regardless of their sexual condition. Many, the vast majority, were homosexual couples. Others, unions of man and woman that have not passed through the altar and that, according to the latest and controversial opinion of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, cannot be blessed by the Church.


Vatican prohibits priests from blessing same-sex couples

Vatican prohibits priests from blessing same-sex couples

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“The Church cannot bless what is sin,” pointed out the ‘Responsum’ of the body chaired by the Spanish Jesuit Luis Francisco Ladaria, and which was not signed by Pope Francis. A text that has caused deep indignation among many faithful, especially in the German Church, immersed in a Synodal Path (sponsored by Bergoglio himself) that seeks to give new answers to topics considered taboo by the traditional Church: homosexuality, premarital relations , the role of women, abortion or euthanasia. And that has generated an unprecedented response in an institution accustomed to obedience and rigor.

Thus, a few days after the ‘no’ of the Doctrine of the Faith, two German parish priests, Burkhard Hose, from Würzburg (Bavaria), and Bernd Mönkebüscher, from Paderborn (North Rhine Westphalia), organized a collection of signatures against the measure a which, to date, 2,600 clergymen in the country have joined, as well as 278 theologians and professors from Catholic universities in the country, who considered “a shame” and a “step backwards.” They did not stay in the protest: a few days later they launched the campaign #liebegewinnt (El Amor Gana), to open the doors to thousands of couples who signed up for a list on the Internet.

Bless a boat or pets and not two people who love each other

The choice of the date, May 10, has biblical reminiscences, because according to tradition it coincides with the date on which the universal flood ended, when “God gave Noah a rainbow”, as explained to elDiario.es. The conveners announced that they would bless “those who commit to a binding union, whom we will also accompany in the future. We do not reject a celebration of the blessing.” The response was immediate, and has unleashed a wave of solidarity, but also contrary reactions, which have transcended the country’s borders, reaching all of Europe and the Vatican itself.

For the moment, both the German Episcopal Conference and the Holy See have chosen to remain silent about the proposal, which understands that the Church is not broken by blessing two people who love each other, and that they do not understand why it can be blessed. a ship, offices, or domestic animals, and not a couple’s love, regardless of canonical validity.

However, the most conservative sectors, both in the German Church and in the world, have raised their voices, calling the macro-blessings a ‘schism’ and lamenting the “challenge” of the priests who choose to welcome everyone. In Spain, even Bishop Munilla announced a fasting and prayer campaign of which, on the other hand, nothing is known. The former president of the Italian bishops, Camilo Ruini, considered blessings a “sin” and demanded sanctions for priests who break the ban. Of the same opinion are Cardinals Müller, Burke or Sarah, whom the German press considers inducers of the question against gay unions that motivated the Doctrine of the Faith response.

“They are celebrations of worship in which people express to God what moves them,” Birgit Mock, a family affairs spokesperson for the ZdK, Germany’s most powerful lay association, told AP.

“The fact that they ask God’s blessing and thank Him for all the good that is in their lives – also for relationships lived with mutual respect and full of love – is deeply grounded in the Gospel,” Mock said, adding that she herself was scheduled to attend a religious service with blessings for homosexuals in the western town of Hamm on Monday in which she would pray for “the success of the synodal journey in which, as a church, we recognize sexuality as a positive force.”

“In Germany we are fighting very seriously and with intense theological speeches for the right path,” added Mock. “Things cannot continue as they have been: this is what the crimes and the cover-up of sexual abuse showed us.” “We need systemic changes, also with regard to a reevaluation of the ecclesiastical morality of sexuality,” he concluded.

The proposal has been well received by the LGBT + Catholic Committee of Germany, which sees in the blessings “a particularly important and useful pastoral sign”, thus responding to the president of the German bishops, Georg Bätzing who, without going so far as to publicly disavow the acts of this day, he did clarify that actions like these “are not useful or adequate as an instrument for ecclesiastical protests.”

In the case of the Bishop of Aachen, Helmut Dieser, German Catholic media report that, although he has not allowed the blessing of unions between homosexuals in temples, he declared in relation to the initiative that in each case “the priests are linked by their conscience” when deciding how to proceed.

For Catholics queerOn the other hand, the gesture implies giving a voice, on an equal footing, to this group. “For many lesbian and gay Christians it is vitally important to ask for God’s blessings on their life together,” said their spokesperson, Veronika Graewe.

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