Ingo Bruggenjurgen © Ide Lodige (DR)
No blessing for same-sex couples? © KNA
The church's blessing for same-sex couples and remarried couples? For many bishops unthinkable, for the Central Committee of German Catholics more than an option. A commentary by our site editor-in-chief Ingo Bruggenjurgen.
In our store Church is once again the subject of heated debate. It is about a statement of the Central Committee of German Catholics. ZdK suggests 'further development of liturgical forms, especially blessings of same-sex partnerships, new partnerships of divorced people and important changes in family life'. One would like to build bridges between statements of the papal magisterium and the lived and experienced social reality.
The German bishops, who are currently preparing for the Synod on the Family, to which Pope Francis has invited to Rome in October, find this advance of the ZdK "unhelpful". That's putting it nicely diplomatically. The chief shepherds are far ahead with their positions in view of the discussion in the universal church anyway and are currently trying to recapture all too high expectations of the synod. Catholics who are not on the diplomatic scene are becoming clearer: they are questioning the whole ZdK right away and certify the elected lay representatives in all clarity that they left the Catholic teachings far behind with their suggestions. Yes, it is even questioned whether the ZdK is still really catholic.
The ZdK, however, did not question the sacrament of marriage at all – but brought "blessings" for other forms of life into the current debate. There is talk of a search for liturgically appropriate forms. Discourse and the search for the right pastoral-liturgical path should still be possible.
Blessing, biblically speaking, is always the promise of success through God's power of love and his Spirit. The mother blesses her child in the morning so that it may get through the day well, the son blesses his old, sick father so that he may survive the difficult operation, the bishop blesses the new home for the elderly so that work may be done here in the spirit of God… They all ask for God's strength and support.
The exact opposite of the blessing is the curse. But no one will want to curse same-sex partners who ame lifelong responsibility for each other in health and sickness. Not even the remarried. If you don't want to curse or bless, the only thing left to do is to endure – in this case: to tolerate other ways of life. But this is often difficult enough for some, given the abundance of today's lifestyles. But is that enough for a Christian who wants to live the biblical message, "You shall be a blessing!"takes it seriously?
But if already today clergy do not refuse communion to remarried couples or take seriously their desire to bless same-sex couples, a good and honest discussion about all these questions should be possible. Then perhaps not every single contribution to the debate is to be approved, but perhaps it is necessary and helpful, because the Church must always find the right path anew on its way through time. Especially at Pentecost, Christians can trust in the power of the Holy Spirit – and thus become a blessing for themselves and for others.