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German priests defy Vatican's rule and conduct ceremonies to bless same-sex marriages

More than 100 services to bless same-sex unions are organized in just the first half of May and churches across Frankfurt, Cologne, Aachen, and Berlin will participate.

German priests defy Vatican's rule and conduct ceremonies to bless same-sex marriages
Image Source: Getty Images/Adam Berry/Representative

In March this year, the Vatican decreed that Catholic Churches do not have a right to bless same-sex marriages. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) stated that it would be "impossible" for God to "bless sin," reported the BBC. The same was approved by Pope Francis, who was considered to be a progressive thinker prior to this. In response, more than 230 professors of Catholic theology in Germany and other countries where German is spoken had signed a statement protesting the Vatican’s stance. It stated their disapproval of the church's discrimination "against homosexual people and their life plans."



Now, Catholic priests from Germany are further protesting the pronouncement from the Vatican. They aim to do so by blessing unions of queer people and live-streaming the same. “In view of the Congregation's refusal to bless homosexual partnerships, we raise our voices and say: We will become people who enter into a binding partnership, will continue to accompany them in the future and bless their relationship. We do not refuse a blessing ceremony. We do this in our responsibility as pastors, who promise people at important moments in their lives the blessings that God alone gives," the group of priests said in a statement.


Germany's Catholic News Agency (KNA) even compiled a list of more than 100 services to bless same-sex unions that were organized for just the first half of May, reported DW. Churches in Frankfurt, Cologne, Aachen, and Berlin are expected to participate. These services are being organized by Maria 2.0, a grass-roots reform initiative, under the motto "love wins." These services are being held a week ahead of the International Day Against Homophobia, which is on 17 May. The first set of services were already held on May 9 in the southern German state of Bavaria at the Church of St. Benedict in Munich, and three churches in Würzburg.



"This is how it should be: We would like to celebrate and bless the gift of love with everyone 'who love each other,' all couples, friendships, love relationships," the church said in the description for their event, according to CBS News. "All who reflect the colorfulness of God's love in their lives!" St. Gertrud Bochum Wattenscheid held an online church service on the topic of the youth service: "Love is love ... in all its diversity. And we celebrate." via Zoom. The event at St. Antonius Holsteiner Straße read, "A blessing service for all lovers - we don't exclude anyone!" 


Pastor Hose founded the #moreSegen or "more blessings" initiative together with Pastor Bernd Mönkebüscher, Archdiocese of Paderborn. The initiative received more than 2,600 signatures. "We do not accept that an exclusive and outdated sexual morality is carried out on the back of people and undermines our work in pastoral care," their statement reads. It was also supported by the chairmen of the forum “Living in Successful Relationships” of the Synodal Path of the Church in Germany, Birgit Mock, Central Committee of German Catholics, ZdK, and Bishop Dr. Helmut Diese, German Bishops' Conference.


“These signatures are an important sign. We are happy to receive them. I thank all pastors who have signed," Mock said. "It shows how deeply you feel rooted in our church. In our forum, we understand sexuality as a positive force. And we want to anchor this in church teaching." Mock went on to elaborate that a majority of the Synodal Forum wanted to allow blessing same-sex relationships in Germany. "We need an honest theological discussion; we have to - finally - recognize as a church that sexuality is part of life. And not only in the marriage as man and woman but in all loyal, dignified and respectful love relationships," Mock stated.


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