After the Vatican's no to blessing homosexual couples, Bishop Overbeck is against suspending priests who do so anyway. For him, blessing is a sign of companionship and God's presence.
Such a move is out of the question, Overbeck told ZDF's Today Journal on Sunday. "We have been there for years in a very lively dialogue." The bishop stressed that there are not only voices in Germany that want to move forward, but also in the universal church.
Disagreement among German bishops
Overall, the church is experiencing "both and," including within the group of bishops in Germany. "This is part of it.In Germany, for example, the Catholic reform process Synodal Way is a forum for dialogue, debate and constructive cooperation," emphasized the Ruhr bishop.
The Vatican's position on blessing same-sex couples had drawn sharp criticism and a controversial debate. Overbeck had called for "a serious and deeply appreciative reassessment of homosexuality".
Repetition of positions is not enough
The mere repetition of the magisterial "evaluation of homosexuality on the basis of natural law" is no longer understood or accepted in the present, he wrote in a recently published letter to all parishes in the Essen diocese. 'People with a homosexual orientation feel offended and hurt'."
Especially in the letters of many pastors "an open rejection of the magisterial position is expressed, which can no longer be ignored". With all appreciation of the testimony of Scripture, the Magisterium and Tradition, it must be a matter of a "translation of the signs of the times. The entire tradition, he said, "must be understood as a living event".
Blessing celebrations as accompaniment
According to the bishop, the blessing ceremonies in particular were born out of pastoral care for the people concerned. "To pronounce a blessing over the good of their lives, which does not resemble a wedding ceremony, but which is a sign of accompaniment, is nevertheless to show: In the name of the Church, God is present in this relationship." This "delicate porcelain" among people of faith "we must not break".