“No instrument for protest actions”

The German Bishops' Conference criticizes the symbols used for the 10. May planned blessing services for same-sex couples. Such a public action is not a helpful sign and not a way forward.

"Blessing services have their own theological dignity and pastoral significance. They are not suitable as an instrument for church-political manifestations or protest actions," explained the conference chairman, Limburg Bishop Georg Batzing, in Bonn on Wednesday.

Batzing stressed at the same time: "Of course people with homosexual orientation, also those, which live in a same-sex partnership, have a place in the church. You are welcome."It is part of the pastoral ministry of the church to do justice to all these people in the respective situations on their life's journey and to accompany them pastorally.

In response to Vatican no

Various pastors had called for nationwide "blessing services for lovers" in mid-April, explicitly inviting homosexual couples as well. "Couples who participate in this should receive the blessing that God wants to give them – completely without secrecy," reads the appeal under the slogans #mutwilligSegnen and #liebegewinnt.

The pastors are responding to the Vatican's no to the blessing of homosexual couples, which had also met with clear criticism among German theologians and among some bishops. The Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had previously declared in March that the Catholic Church had no authority to bless same-sex relationships. These unions would not correspond to the divine will and therefore could not be blessed.

Discussions continue

At the same time, Batzing repeated his assessment on Wednesday that there have been discussions for some time in Germany and in other parts of the universal church about the way in which the church's sexual morality, including with regard to homosexuality, could be further developed.

This must be done "on the basis of fundamental truths of faith and morals, progressive theological reflection, and also in openness to newer results of the human sciences and the life situations of people today". "This also includes an appropriate discussion of the question of blessing services," the Limburg bishop said. The Synodal Way is a central place to discuss the topic of successful relationships in a comprehensive way.

This: Do not politicize or polemicize

Regarding the call for nationwide "blessing services for lovers," Aachen Bishop Helmut Dieser stated on the diocese's homepage, "In the case of blessing requests from same-sex couples, pastors are obligated to their conscience. As a bishop, I cannot give an order to bless same-sex couples. I ask all pastoral workers not to put each other under prere on this ie and not to politicize or polemicize the concern. In this question, too, it is always first and last a question of the salvation of souls."

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