German churches bless gay couples in defiance of Vatican
Catholic churches around Germany were offering blessings for gay couples on Monday in a protest against the Vatican’s refusal to approve same-sex partnerships.
More than 100 churches around the country have signed up to host services under the motto “love wins” on or around May 10 in the scheme initiated by priests, deacons and volunteers.
At the services, all couples will be invited to be blessed — regardless of sexual orientation.
“We raise our voices and say: We will continue to stand by people who commit themselves to a binding partnership and bless their relationship,” said a statement on the initiative’s website.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), the powerful Vatican office responsible for defending church doctrine, handed down a ruling in March that same-sex unions could not be blessed despite their “positive elements”.
The office wrote that while God “never ceases to bless each of His pilgrim children in this world… he does not and cannot bless sin”.
Some German priests reacted to the announcement using a hashtag calling for “disobedience” online.
While some prominent German bishops have supported the Vatican’s stance, others accused the CDF of seeking to stifle theological debates which have been active among German Catholics in recent years.
A German petition calling for the CDF’s ruling to be ignored was signed by 2,600 priests and deacons in March, as well as 277 theologians.
May 10 was chosen for the blessings because it is associated with God sending Noah a rainbow — a symbol often used in support of the LGBT community.
Under the initiative, churches in cities including Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, Frankfurt and Munich will hold traditional masses as well as open-air services and online events.
“We must finally recognise as a church that sexuality is part of life — and not only in a marriage between a man and a woman, but in all faithful, dignified and respectful love relationships,” said Birgit Mock, co-chair of the German Synodal Path’s working group on sexuality.
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