Aachen Bishop Helmut Dieser hopes for a noticeable change in Catholic sexual morality. "The sticking point is that many people find the Catholic catch-all on sexuality discriminatory in many places."
He told the Catholic News Agency (KNA) in Dortmund on Friday. He said the church must learn "that sexuality is not a thing apart from being human, but a part of it". He does not want to adapt to the spirit of the times, he said, but to bring findings – also from the human sciences – into conversation with faith.
This was expressed on the fringes of a regional conference of the Catholic reform process Synodal Way. The bishop chairs the synodal forum on sexual morality, which presented an initial text for discussion at Friday's meeting.
The paper, which includes several proposals for a total of eleven votes, states, among other things: "We honor the diverse sexual orientations and gender identities of people, as well as the couple relationships of these people that are designed to be long-lasting, faithful and exclusive."According to official teaching, the Catholic Church rejects homosexual acts, even if the partners are in a permanent relationship.
Great diversity of sexual identities and orientations
The latter stressed that there is a greater diversity of sexual identities and orientations that are not interchangeable, and that people do not choose them. He said he hopes the paper will find a two-thirds majority of bishops as the reform process continues. "Then we would have at least one result of the Synodal Way, which in Germany leads to the fact that there is a clear intention to go on." This is an important signal also with regard to the universal church, he said.
The regional meetings in Berlin, Dortmund, Ludwigshafen, Frankfurt and Munich replace the second plenary meeting of the Synodal Way, originally scheduled for early September, at which bishops and lay representatives will discuss the future of church life in Germany. They are meant for exchange and discussion – no decisions are made at them. Assembly was postponed until February 2021 because of the Corona pandemic.