After blessing a homosexual couple, the Catholic priest Peter Kollas from Wetzlar has been recalled from the office of district dean. The responsible bishop of Limburg, Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, had decided to take this step after Kollas had helped to celebrate a registered civil partnership in Wetzlar Cathedral last Friday, the diocese of Limburg announced on Wednesday. In an interview with this site, press spokesman Robert Eberle explains the process.
A blessing of registered civil partnerships by Catholic chaplains is not possible, the statement said. Otherwise, the false impression could arise that the church equates homosexual unions with marriage. He said that the Catholic Church was committed to seeking appropriate forms of pastoral care for homosexual persons. According to the teachings of the church, however, this can in no way lead to the legal recognition or blessing of homosexual unions. The diocese pointed out that the Wetzlar pastor had shown himself to be reasonable in a conversation with the bishop. The priest has never blessed registered partnerships before and will not do so in the future. According to the diocese, a provisional district dean for the Wetzlar district will be appointed in the next few days, who would enjoy the necessary confidence of the bishop. District deans act as representatives of the bishop in the districts. The gay couple blessed by Kollas had married in the registry office before the ceremony last Friday in Wetzlar Cathedral. Afterwards the festive party had moved into the cathedral, as diocesan spokesman Eberle explained. The ceremony in the cathedral would have been attended by about 150 people, including a Protestant clergyman.After the ceremony, there were "protests and irritations" from Catholics, but also Protestant Christians. In order to avert "further damage", the district dean was recalled. Kollas will keep his office as pastor. The 55-year-old had shown himself "insightful".
Criticism from homosexual associations The Alliance Greens and the Lesbian and Gay Association (LSVD) criticized the bishop's measure. The parliamentary director of the Green Party, Volker Beck, spoke of an "intellectual indictment". He said the decision was "a document of pharisaic bigotry and of ruthlessness toward homosexual Christians". LSVD spokesman Axel Hochrein accused the Catholic Church of trying by all means to suppress the lesbians and gays in their parishes. The federal chairman of the Lesbians and Gays in the Union (LSU), Reinhard Thole, declared that the church does not have the right to deny its blessing to two loving people. "We bless horses, cars, devotional objects. Then why shouldn't we also bless the love of two people," he said. The blessing, also of two homosexual lovers, is not a sacramental act and does not mean thereby also the equality with the sacrament of the marriage.