German Catholic leaders challenge Pope Francis with support for same-sex blessings

German same-sex

German Catholic bishops and lay leaders called for their church to bless same-sex relationships, challenging a Vatican ban on the practice.

The move increased pressure on Pope Francis to respond to the Germans’ progressive drive, which conservatives have warned could split the worldwide church.

At a meeting in Frankfurt on Friday, German church leaders voted 168 to 28, with five abstentions, to adopt a draft statement on sexuality.

The statement includes a resolution saying, “same-sex partnerships who want to take the risk of an unbreakable common life…should be able to see themselves placed under the blessing of God.”

The Rev Burkhard Hose, who has campaigned against the Vatican ban, said the decision was “a milestone in the journey toward a church without discrimination, a church full of respect for the diversity of love and partnerships.”

“It’s not possible for the bishops to ignore this voting of the majority without losing their authority,” he said.

And considering Pope Francis has chosen ‘Listen’ as the theme for World Communications Day 2022. This is drawn from Jesus’ words in the Gospel of Luke, “Take care, then, how you listen.”

The statement said that the search for truth “begins with listening”, as does “bearing witness through social communications media.”

The Vatican said that Jesus’ words are a reminder that in order to listen, Christians need “courage, an open and free heart, without prejudices.”

German conservatives greeted the vote with dismay but not surprise.

“It shows that the church in Germany is guided by secular values, and by worldly ideologies,” said Annette Florczak of Maria 1.0, an organization dedicated to upholding traditional Catholic doctrine.

“Apparently, the members of the Synodal Path see the church as a democracy where teachings and truth change with a majority vote. It is beyond presumptuous and beyond depressing.”

Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer of Regensburg is a prominent critic of the “Synodal Way,” a multi-year process bringing together bishops and laypeople to discuss four main topics: the way power is exercised in the Church; sexual morality; the priesthood; and the role of women.

The German bishops’ conference initially said that the process would end with a series of “binding” votes. This raised concerns at the Vatican that the resolutions might challenge the Church’s teaching and discipline.


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