Facebook Twitter

German Catholics defy the Vatican, bless the unions of same-sex couples

A group of around 100 Catholic churches in Germany are holding blessings this week for gay couples

SHARE German Catholics defy the Vatican, bless the unions of same-sex couples

A group of around 100 Catholic churches in Germany are holding blessings this week for gay couples.

Photo Illustration by Alex Cochran

Progressive Catholic churches in Germany are defying the Vatican’s latest stance on same-sex couples and are blessing the unions of gay couples this week.

Around 100 Catholic churches across Germany will offer blessings to same-sex couples, The Associates Press reported, in “the latest escalation in tensions between conservatives and progressives that have already sparked alarm, primarily from the right, that part of the German church might be heading into schism.”

In March, the Vatican reiterated its stance on same-sex unions and said it would not bless unions “that involve sexual activity outside of marriage,” or more specifically, unions that are not “open in itself to the transmission of life,” the Deseret News reported then.

“A group of 16 German priests and volunteers organized a petition that within days collected more than 2,000 signatures. Encouraged by the response, they decided to take their action one step further and declare May 10 — chosen because of its association with Noah, who in the Bible is recognized by God with a rainbow, a symbol that has more recently been adopted by the LGBTQ community — as a day to hold blessing ceremonies for any and all couples, but especially those in same-sex unions,” according to The New York Times.

The Catholic News Agency reported churches in about 80 German cities — and in Zurich, Switzerland — had already conducted the blessings, which were open to all couples.

  • “The ceremonies, known as ‘Segnungsgottesdienste für Liebende,’ or ‘blessing services for lovers,’ were promoted using the hashtag ‘#liebegewinnt’ (‘love wins’). Organizers said that the services were open to all couples, including — and in particular — those of the same sex,” reported CNA.
  • “In many places, a general blessing was given at the end of the service, which, however, explicitly included homosexual couples and their relationships. Sometimes individual blessings were offered after the ceremony,” according to the news agency.

What Catholics are saying about the blessings

On Twitter Tuesday, Pope Francis — perhaps speaking to the rebellious German churches — reminded Catholics that “Jesus’ way” was the path to eternal life in heaven.

  • “Which way should I follow? There are ways that do not lead to Heaven: the ways of worldliness, the ways of self-affirmation, the ways of selfish power. And there is Jesus’ way, the way of humble love, of prayer, of meekness, of trust, of service to others,” Pope Francis wrote on Twitter.

Pope Francis is the first pontiff to support the civil unions of same-sex couples.

The Catholic German petitioners said in a statement that “in view of the refusal of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to bless homosexual partnerships, we raise our voices and say: We will continue to accompany people who enter into a binding partnership in the future and bless their relationship,” The New York Times reported.

  • “We do this in our responsibility as pastors, who promise people at important moments in their lives the blessings that God alone gives. We respect and value their love, and we also believe that God’s blessings are on them,” the petitioners wrote, according to an English translation of the German statement.