Dr. Andreas Puttmann © private
Andreas Puttmann is a political scientist, journalist and publicist. In 2012, he was appointed to the board of the "Foundation for the Promotion of Catholic Social Teaching". In September 2010, Puttmann was received by the ecumenical Order of the Knights Templar Ordo Militiae Crucis Templi (OMCT).
The Catholic publicist Dr. Andreas Puttmann deplores a contemptuous attitude and derisive diction toward same-sex love in considerable segments of the three Christian denominations. A stocktaking.
It was a memorable news situation for Christians in Germany on 8. January 2014: The liberal leading medium "Die Zeit" reported with reference to the Christian relief organization "Open Doors" under the title: "Discrimination. Extremist Islam exacerbates persecution of Christians" that "almost 100 million Christians worldwide suffered terrible reprisals". At the same time, "Die Zeit" reported the outing of the German professional soccer player Thomas Hitzlsperger. The often life-threatening discrimination against Christians was also addressed by some other print media and news broadcasts, but more as a "distant memory"; meanwhile, the topic of discrimination against homosexuals in soccer led to media hype on all channels. This says something about increasingly diverging social values: "Football is our life" (World Cup song 1974), love and sexuality anyway. Where both also still cross, the news value is guaranteed. While "King Soccer" has people flocking to high masses in stadium "cathedrals," the "Christ the King, Christ the Victor" of the faithful is barely getting through publicly, and churches are emptying out. The response to the scandal of the persecution of Christians, which in its milder forms of social discrimination has long ceased to be a purely non-European phenomenon, is correspondingly weak. Christophobia is also becoming more virulent in our country.
Is the secular media society once again totally off the mark with its standards and proportions of attention?? Individual, also Christian voices on the Internet and in the social media already scolded or mocked in this sense. Hitzlsperger is also not at all courageous, real courage would have been needed for this in National Socialist Germany, for example, they dismiss. Others are demonstratively indifferent: "So what??", "Who cares?"The man should not bother the public with his sexuality, heterosexuals would not declare themselves accordingly. But behind the expressed sourness hides only with difficulty the anger about the successful coup of the socio-political party identified as adversarial.
Humanitarian failure by moral dullness
From the comfortable position of a sexual majority identity of at least 90 percent, it is easy to assert the public irrelevance of a minority identity and to deny the courage to openly confess it. The phony, casual, cynical talk of such commentators is unworthy of Christianity. But unfortunately it reflects that humanitarian failure through moral bluntness and a blatant lack of empathy, which is still as widespread in ecclesiastical-conservative circles towards the mental distress and external distress of homosexuals as the rabble-rousing homophobia in the stands of many soccer stadiums. Even Putin is praised as an ally of the Christian cause and recommended as a model for the local sexual policy; he is also a "practicing Christian". It couldn't get any dumber.
The broad social acceptance and media accommodation of homosexuals should not obscure the fact that there is still a contemptuous attitude and derisive diction toward same-sex love in considerable segments of the population and also in the three Christian denominations. The chairman of the German Evangelical Alliance, Michael Diener, recently said in the evangelical media magazine PRO: "I believe that we as evangelicals have a fundamentally difficult time with everything that is foreign and different. I am surprised that the love of God, which is so important to us, often leads to unloving behavior." His predecessor Jurgen Werth had been even more explicit in 2011 at the church congress in Dresden: "I would like to apologize for everything bad that homosexuals have experienced at the hands of evangelicals."A similar admission from the Catholic side is still pending.
Fight against gender ideology
Focused on the fight against gender ideology, Christian conservative marriage protectors sometimes lose the ability to differentiate and the appropriateness of language, as well as the benevolent view of the longing for love and the ability to love of each individual person, which is closely connected with their human dignity. The sentence of Genesis: "He created them male and female" is logically preceded by the statement: "It is not good that man should be alone"." The Catholic World Catechism takes this into account with the consideration of a "selfless friendship" in which homosexuals could live their "not self-chosen" disposition. Certainly as chaste as heterosexuals outside their marriage bed – which may be a challenge of a very different order of magnitude for the church than dealing with the homosexual minority. To discriminate against them one should "beware" and meet them with respect, compassion and tact, the Catechism inculcates.
Thomas Hitzlsperger confessed in April 2010, also in "Die Zeit", to being baptized, raised and educated as a Catholic. As a child, he had often been to church without having dealt intensively with the faith. "Over the years, I have then come away from the church faith. For many people, however, the church as an institution provides support and is important, which I think is good." That sounds honest and fair, although in his situation at the time he could already feel sidelined by the church. For eight years he had tried to be happy with a woman – and only pulled the emergency brake a few weeks before the planned wedding. One can only guess what inner struggle he had behind him – and what still lay ahead of him until he was freed from years of self-denial, for example, when the tone-setting majority was amused by gay jokes or caricatured mistakes on the soccer field as "gay passes". This is not life-threatening for halfway stable personalities, but it is a tribulation that one does not wish on anyone. Some young people were driven to suicide by discriminatory talk.
Profound uncertainty in the Catholic Church
It is therefore quite touching when secular society, which otherwise complains that everyone fights only for their own interests and that empathy for others often seems to be underdeveloped, when this majority society of heterosexually sensitive people embraces a 31-year-old gay soccer player and reacts to his existential act with great attention and sympathy. Sensationalism, quota and profit calculation, ideology and vicarious acquittal for one's own secret norm violations may play a role here. But at its core, this strong reaction is deeply compassionate, Christianly speaking fraternal, and healthier than some of what comes on the scene in the name of moral order.
A spokesman for the EKD has praised Hitzlsperger's move as encouraging and exemplary. And the Catholic Church? Apart from a benevolent statement by the Olympic pastor of the German Bishops' Conference, there is a silence there that corresponds to one's own profound insecurity on the topic. Even diocesan commissioners for the pastoral care of homosexuals do not want or are not supposed to speak out. The area of tension between doctrine and pastoral care is mined terrain. Add to that the "glass house" effect after the revelation of sexual assaults by clerics on adolescents – far predominantly of the same sex – as well as "homosexual rope teams" even in the heart chamber of the universal church. The credibility of the church is at stake here as with few other topics.
Tailwind from Rome
The fact that the Catholic Church is becoming even lonelier after "Hitz, the Hammers" hit the macho bastion of soccer cannot yet be a reason for it to revoke its own doctrinal tradition. The majority is not the measure of a church. On the other hand, increasing isolation is not automatically an indication of being completely in the truth and having to suffer for it. A constant critical self-examination in dialogue with the human and social sciences is indispensable for Christian ethics. It would not be the first time that moral church teachings have had to be modified in the light of secular advances in knowledge. A glance at the "Handbuch der katholischen Sittenlehre" (Handbook of Catholic Moral Teachings) from 1950 is enough to prove this.
Cardinal Schonborn said in Vienna in 2010: "On the subject of homosexuality, we should look more closely at the quality of a relationship. And to talk about this quality in an appreciative way. A stable relationship is certainly better than someone simply living out his promiscuity." In 2012, he confirmed in office a parish councilor living in a homosexual partnership and declared himself "very impressed by his faithful attitude, his humility and his lived willingness to serve". Cardinal Woelki acknowledged at the Mannheim Katholikentag a "similarity" with heterosexual relationships, where "two homosexuals take responsibility for each other, if they deal with each other permanently and faithfully". In 2010, Cardinal Meisner concluded his response to a concerned person's open letter by suggesting, "Even if a homosexual does not want to adopt the Church's view without reservation, both sides can discover common goals and z.B. energetically advocate that homosexuals not be discriminated against, that derogatory remarks about homosexuals disappear from our everyday language, and that talk at the regulars' table be condemned to its platitude. I think these would be worthwhile targets."
Dependence on the judgment of others
These are only careful shifts of emphasis. In the meantime, however, with a tailwind from Rome. Not in the sense of relativizing the guiding principle of marriage between a man and a woman, but in favor of restraint in judgment – "If someone is homosexual and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge him??" – and a demonstrative inclusion of homosexual "brothers and sisters" by Pope Francis.
Thomas Hitzlsperger is to be wished that he can tie to his childhood with the church again one day. While his coming out seems to have distanced him even further from her. But he could learn to interpret his liberating "finding himself," his radical step out of dependence on the judgment of others, as an essentially Christian spiritual experience. There is only one authoritative judge. The has his creatures individually "by name" and "called to freedom". Who better than a midfielder to respond to this with the psalmist: "You set my feet in wide open spaces."