Germany’s strong Catholic progressives are publicly defying a new Holy See declaration that priests cannot bless same-sex unions by doing so at services in more than 100 independent churches around the country this week.
The blessings at open worship services are the latest response from German Catholics to a document issued by the Vatican’s orthodoxy office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in March, in which it said that Catholic clergy cannot bless same-sex unions because God “cannot bless sin.”
The paper enthralled conservatives though disheartening LGBTQ Catholics around the world. But the reaction has been especially strong in Germany, where the German church has been at the forefront of formally debating and reforming controversial topics such as the church’s teaching on homosexuality.
Germany is no stranger to schism: it was here that Martin Luther began the Protestant Reformation 500 years ago.
Pope Francis, who has advocated for a more decentralized church system, has also reminded the German hierarchy that during its reform period, regarded as a “synodal course,” it must stay in communion with Rome.
At a prayer service on May 16, the Rev. Jan Korditschke, a Jesuit who works with the diocese training adults for baptism and volunteers at the St.Canisius congregation in Berlin, will lead blessings for queer couples.
In an interview with The Associated Press on Friday, Korditschke said, “I am persuaded that homosexual orientation is not bad, and homosexual love is not a sin.” “With these blessings, I want to rejoice homosexual love because homosexual love is something good.”
The 44-year-old believes it is important for homosexuals to be able to express themselves within the Catholic Church and achieve long-term recognition. He said that he is not concerned about potential consequences from high-ranking church officials.
“I stand by what I’m doing, even though it hurts me that I can’t do it in accordance with the church leadership,” Korditschke said, noting that “my church’s homophobia makes me furious and ashamed of it.”
Last month, the president of the German Bishops Conference slammed the grassroots movement “Liebe Gewinnt,” or “Love Wins,” for gay blessings.
The blessings, according to Limburg Bishop Georg Baetzing, “are not acceptable as an instrument of church political manifestations or political behaviour.”