The Frankfurt Jesuit Ansgar Wucherpfennig has called for a reassessment of church sexual morality and homosexuality. In addition, he opposed the thesis that homosexual orientation is significantly responsible for abuse.
A renewal of sexual morality in the Catholic Church in view of the abuse scandal in the Catholic Church could reduce the "risk group" of those clerics at risk of abuse who lived a "cynical" because self-denying celibacy, said the rector of the Philosophical-Theological University of St. Georgen, Father Ansgar Wucherpfennig, on Monday evening at a lecture at the Catholic Theological Faculty in Vienna.
At the same time, Wucherpfennig turned against the thesis spread by "right-wing Catholic" circles and in the Vatican that the homosexual orientation of priests is decisively responsible for cases of abuse in the church. Rather, he referred to prere within the church that causes priests to deny their sexuality and thus remain immature in this area.
Ansgar Wucherpfennig thus contradicts the former Vatican diplomat, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, who sees in the Catholic Church a widespread "plague of homosexuality", which is also the main cause of sexual abuse.
Do not reject homosexuality with reference to the Bible
In the Catholic clergy, he said, there are many who have become "frighteningly gray and impersonal" and who have agreed "not to be themselves.". If they were in positions of responsibility, they would do everything to uphold traditional Catholic sexual morality. Pedosexually exercised power is disproportionately widespread among such persons.
Wucherpfennig criticized the church's attitude toward gays and lesbians. He opposed the rejection of homosexuality with reference to the Bible. In the entire Bible there are only five passages in which same-sex activities are forbidden or have negative connotations. Moreover, the Bible makes no connection between sexual violence and a particular sexual orientation.
In today's situation, it is important to understand what God's Word is, said the biblical scholar, referring to the task of mature Christians. In the search for this, the dialogue of the respective life world with the Bible is needed. A reformulation of the Church's sexual morality must take into account not only the findings of the theological tradition, but also modern human sciences and the experiences of the faithful.
Wucherpfennig had been re-elected for a third term as rector of the Jesuit University of St. George at the beginning of 2018; however, the Vatican had initially not granted him the declaration of no objection ("Nihil obstat") required for this, which was met with massive criticism. Wucherpfennig had repeatedly been critical of the church's treatment of women and homosexuals.
Woelki: "Homosexuality is by no means a disease"
According to the Archbishop of Cologne, Rainer Maria Cardinal Woelki, homosexuality is by no means a disease. With regard to the training of priests, the cardinal said: "We have learned, not least through the terrible experiences of the abuse scandal, that we must not make sexuality a taboo subject in the training of priests, but, on the contrary, must make it an ie. We want to help all candidates for the priesthood, regardless of their sexual orientation, to reflect more deeply on their sexuality. This is part of the preparation for the priestly life and must have a fixed place in the training."
The cardinal referred to a controversial lecture by Romano Christen, the director of the Bonn theology convict Collegium Albertinum, Father Romano Christen. The latter had come under criticism because of a lecture on homosexuality. He had represented before students the position that homosexuality is not innate, but "consequence of a psychological (false) development". There are therapies against it, he said, but they are not always successful. Men with "deep-seated homosexual tendencies" could therefore not be consecrated, as is also laid down in Vatican instructions.
The lecture goes on to say, among other things, that even if romance is involved in homosexual love, it is "less about the real encounter with a you". Rather, it is a matter of a "narcissistic search" of a person concerned for masculinity, which he himself does not feel. Thereupon the archdiocese of Cologne had clearly distanced itself from Christen's statements.