Discussion about blessing homosexual couples

Discussion about blessing homosexual couples

The Catholic Church and homosexuality – a difficult chapter. "No discrimination," demands the catechism. But a blessing of same-sex couples goes so far nevertheless too far, so the opinion of the church. That could change.

In the Catholic Church in Germany, there could be a cautious opening for the blessing of same-sex unions. Osnabruck Bishop Franz-Josef Bode is the first Catholic bishop in the country to suggest a discussion on blessing these couples. "One can, for example, think about a blessing – which is not to be confused with a marriage ceremony," he said in an interview with the "Neue Osnabrucker Zeitung" (Wednesday): "We need to discuss this in more detail in the church Silence and tabooing leads nowhere and makes people insecure."

An advance that surprises many and that comes, after all, from the deputy chairman of the German Bishops' Conference, who is also the most senior of the German local bishops. Even if the "marriage for all" differs from the marriage understanding of the Church, this is now a political reality, Bode continued: "We must therefore ask ourselves how we meet those who enter into this union and who are also partly committed in the Church. How do we accompany them pastorally and liturgically?? How do we do justice to them?"

Bode: Do we not have to become fairer to homosexual couples?

Bode points out that homosexual relationships are often first classified as a serious sin in the church: "We have to think about how we evaluate a relationship between two people of the same sex in a differentiated way," the 66-year-old demanded: "Isn't there so much that is positive, good and right that we have to do justice to it??"

The Catholic lay organization "We are Church" spoke out clearly in the newspaper in favor of a blessing: "If cars and who knows everything else are blessed, the Church must not deny the blessing to same-sex couples," said their spokesman Christian Weisner: "I think that fortunately there are also priests who bless same-sex couples at least in small circles and without media attention. And that is good."

The ecumenical working group Homosexuals and the Church called on Catholic bishops to engage in an "appreciative theological debate" about blessing lesbian and gay couples in church services. At the last family synod in 2015, the German-speaking bishops had asked homosexuals to apologize for harsh and merciless attitudes of the Church, added the spokesman of the working group, Markus Gutfleisch: "This apology must now be followed by actions."

The highest representative lay body, the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK), however, pleads for the church blessing of homosexual couples. With Federal Minister Barbara Hendricks (SPD), for the first time a woman who has entered into a civil marriage with a woman is a member of the ZdK presidium.

In the diocese of Munster, Bishop Felix Genn recently forbade a priest from giving a "blessing for lovers" to the mayor of Emmerich, Peter Hinze (SPD), and his partner during a service of the word. At the same time, a spokesman had stressed that "the diocese is not concerned with disparaging a same-sex partnership". However, media reports have given the impression that a homosexual wedding is being celebrated in the church. Therefore, he said, we want to emphasize that there is a difference between the sacrament of marriage and a same-sex partnership.

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Christina Cherry
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