Social Issues

German Catholics flout Vatican ban with blessings of same sex unions

Berlin, May 10 (EFE).- A hundred Catholic churches across Germany this week are holding open worship services that feature blessings of gay couples.

The initiative under the slogan “Liebe Gewinnt” (‘Love wins’) has been organized in response to a Vatican ruling in March that said the Catholic clergy could not approve same-sex unions because God “cannot bless sin.”

The initiative was inspired by two parish priests — Burkhard Hose, of Würzburg in the southern state of Bavaria, and Bernd Mönkebüscher, of Paderborn in the northwestern industrial region of North Rhine-Westphalia — who called for a public appeal in March following the Vatican’s refusal to bless marriages of couples of the same sex.

The debate at the Vatican was triggered by statements from Pope Francis in a documentary released a few months ago which were interpreted by some as a blessing for civil unions between homosexual couples.

Following the Vatican’s response, pastors Hose and Mönkebüscher issued a statement announcing that they would bless “the persons who commit themselves to a binding union, whom we will also accompany in the future. We do not refuse a celebration of the blessing.”

The blessings began on Sunday in several towns in Germany and will continue over the next few days.

The Catholic Youth League (BDKJ) issued a statement on Sunday supporting and praising the initiative, and called on the German bishops to “introduce a rite of blessing for same-sex relationships.”

As for the German Catholic hierarchy, the president of the Bishops’ Conference, Georg Bätzinz, criticized the initiative on the grounds that blessing services in churches “are not a suitable instrument for ecclesiastical-political demonstrations or protests.” EFE


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