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German-speaking theology professors criticize Vatican ‘no’ to same-sex blessings

The recent CDF document has provoked strong reactions in German-speaking countries, where a number of bishops have publicly voiced support for the blessing of same-sex unions.

Archbishop Luis Ladaria, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, speaks at a March 2018 news conference.(CNS photo/Paul Haring)

CNA Staff, Mar 22, 2021 / 12:00 pm (CNA).- More than 200 professors of theology in the German-speaking world have signed a statement criticizing the Vatican’s rejection of blessings for same-sex couples.

The statement, drafted at the University of Münster, described the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s clarification as lacking “theological depth, hermeneutical understanding, and explanatory rigor.”

“If scientific findings are ignored and not received, as is the case in the document, the Magisterium undermines its own authority,” the professors said, according to CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner.

“The text is characterized by a paternalistic gesture of superiority and discriminates against homosexual people and their life plans.”

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) issued a “Responsum ad dubium” March 15 replying to the question, “does the Church have the power to give the blessing to unions of persons of the same sex?” The doctrinal congregation answered, “Negative,” explaining its reasoning in an “explanatory note” and accompanying commentary.

The ruling was approved for publication by Pope Francis and signed by CDF prefect Cardinal Luis Ladaria and secretary Archbishop Giacomo Morandi.

The document has provoked strong reactions in German-speaking countries, where a number of bishops have publicly voiced support for the blessing of same-sex unions. They include Bishop Georg Bätzing, the president of the German bishops’ conference.

Bätzing said March 15 that the CDF’s response reflected “the state of Church teaching as expressed in several Roman documents.”

He commented: “In Germany and in other parts of the worldwide Church, there have been discussions for some time about the way in which this teaching and doctrinal development in general can be advanced with viable arguments — on the basis of fundamental truths of faith and morals, progressive theological reflection, and also in openness to more recent results of the human sciences and the life situations of people today. There are no easy answers to questions of this kind.”

Some Catholic priests said on social media that they would continue to bless homosexual unions, while several Catholic churches have displayed rainbow flags, including the cathedral of the Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart.

But other German bishops have welcomed the Vatican clarification, including Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer of Regensburg and Bishop Stefan Oster of Passau.

In their statement, the theology professors “firmly” distanced themselves from the CDF’s intervention.

“In contrast, we assume that the life and love of same-sex couples are not less valuable before God than the life and love of any other couple,” they said.

“In many congregations, priests, deacons, and other pastoral ministers recognize gay people, including by offering celebrations of blessing for same-sex couples and reflecting on appropriate liturgical forms for such celebrations. We strongly welcome these affirming practices.”

In its explanatory note, the CDF said: “The Christian community and its Pastors are called to welcome with respect and sensitivity persons with homosexual inclinations, and will know how to find the most appropriate ways, consistent with Church teaching, to proclaim to them the Gospel in its fullness.”

“At the same time, they should recognize the genuine nearness of the Church — which prays for them, accompanies them and shares their journey of Christian faith — and receive the teachings with sincere openness.”

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  1. German theologians are not simply interested in sensitivity, welcome, and blessing for individuals with same sex inclination. Conference president bishop Georg Bätzing underscores development of doctrine, certain to be based on conscience, mutual compatibility contributing to social cohesion, and presumed inability for same sex relationships to remain celibate. Those premises are found in Amoris Laetitia and were prior to Amoris long held by Modernist theologians. They obviously have confidence with that document on their side they will eventually succeed.

    • Immorality has always been the downfall of the Christian Church. Same as the Ten Commandments, “there are no footnotes,” Fr. James Altman) so is the same sex unions being blessed, in my opinion.

  2. Because it is the nature homosexual orientation to not physically reproduce itself, on what “scientific” basis do the German theologians explain the proliferation of homosexuality in today’s society (or conclude with the non-indefectible and off-the-cuff pope that it is “God [who] made you that way)?” Just askin’ the obvious…

    As part of the mix, research into the genome does point to some genetic markers—but not to a gay gene—and finds these markers do not account for same-sex behavior.
    From the news release: Five of the genetic markers were “significantly” associated with same-sex behavior, the researchers said, but even these are far from being predictive of a person’s sexual preferences. “We scanned the entire human genome and found a handful – five to be precise – of locations that are clearly associated with whether a person reports in engaging in same-sex sexual behavior,” said Andrea Ganna, a biologist at the Institute of Molecular Medicine in Finland who co-led the research.

    He said these have “a very small effect” and, combined, explain “considerably less than 1% of the variance in the self-reported same-sex sexual behavior.” This means that non-genetic factors – such as environment [e.g., the experimental culture], upbringing, personality, nurture [e.g., early sexual victimization/abuse] – are far more significant in influencing a person’s choice of sexual partner, just as with most other personality, behavioral and physical human traits, the researchers said.

    Galileo was not a German theologian.

  3. So ze German heretics of the Marx/Kasper/Overbeck/Batzing school want to go into Schism?
    I’m okay with that, as long as they take Brokeback Martin, the Horan of Babylon, Beans Faggioli and Poison Ivereigh with them.

  4. FROM THE ARTICLE. “If scientific findings are ignored and not received, as is the case in the document, the Magisterium undermines its own authority,” the professors said, according to CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner.
    “The text is characterized by a paternalistic gesture of superiority and discriminates against homosexual people and their life plans.”

    MY RESPONSE. Newsflash!!! The Divine and natural law of God is superior and discriminated against homosexual behavior and a homosexual lifestyle, as it does against all sin and sinful lifestyle. The Magisterium is not independent of Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition; it is subject to it at all times regardless of the consensus of those who dare consider otherwise.

    May the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Chief Potentate and Shepherd, deliver the Church from wolves in sheep clothing, from Satan who is disguised as an angel of light, from false shepherds who lead the blind to utter destruction. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. So be it.

    • Todd C, Excellent! “The Divine and natural law of God is superior”. God himself has been discriminated against in His own Catholic Church for more than 6 decades. I think, 200 Theologians going against Church Law. The CDF should declare them Anathema in order to restore all things in Christ. Too bad “Anathema” is a nasty forbidden word to Modernist Heretics.

    • These creeps should be kicked out of the Church and declared anathema. I shudder to think on their infernal influence over theology students. Fifth column Judases like them have gutted the German church.

  5. I was waiting for some “theological depth, hermeneutical understanding, and explanatory rigor” from the German theologians. There was certainly none in that article. Let’s have some deep theological and rigorous explanation for why the Church ought to bless same-sex unions and no longer call those with same-sex attraction to a life of chastity.

  6. For the non-conforming, there is a missing historical horizon > the decay and death of civilization (see career of Pitirim Sorokin). The whole arc of American and European life has to include the sweep of health and rectitude as it prefigured, before descending into, transformation (decadence). But they, do not want to to see societal ‘decadence’, they want to see new exceptions to the definition of health, to novely avoid the judgment of decadence. But many nations preceded us and they all disappeared because they died by the same misuses of sexual faculty. So the message of the Church is compassionate, it requires us to pay it forward, to forego what is disordered habit now, for the survival of nation. But, the flesh is ever weak….

  7. Wonder how this is a coordinated attack lead by the Germans with Bishops in other countries ready to follow. Where the Germans take the lead and then the other like minded Bishops slowly come out and agree to make it look like a ground swell of support for this deviency. I just hope the Church does not falter.

  8. Quite honestly I think the Pope needs to step in and exert his authority NOW, before these Bishops take some cataclysmic action which will totally destroy the Church in Germany.Their verbal remarks are already incitement to schism. Like some here, I believe they have ALREADY made their move away from union with the Catholic Church with the various statements they have made which fly in the face of the Pope.Some disciplinary measure is needed. If that action causes them to leave anyway, well, at least the Pope tried to set them straight before the Germans made a final break. It is wishful thinking on the part of the Pope to imagine that coaxing and niceness will change their ideological minds. Sometimes a leader has to be harsh and sometimes they actually have to LEAD. He may need to exit ALL of these disloyal German Bishops and directly address the German people to explain the need for the change in command.

    • Of the four themes of the “synodal drift”, all four have been discredited by popes and bishops already, and are whistling in the dark. Leadership is needed, but a least we do have this:

      (1) Regarding oxymoronic and cancel-cultural Gay “marriage,” the lights again have been turned on, in the approved CDC March 15 formal responsum: “As for proposals to place unions between homosexual persons on the same level as marriage, there are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family.”

      (2) The gender-theory mirage of female ordination was irreversibly buried in 1994 (Pope John Paul II: Ordinatio sacerdotalis), as reaffirmed in 2016 by Pope Francis: “the church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the church’s faithful;”

      (3) The Protestant novelty of congregational, elective and term-limited bishops is a non-starter when stood up against the Apostolic Success as founded by Christ, and the 2,000 years of validly ordained bishops; and

      (4) Despite some recent and contrived abivalences, the fantasy of “plurality” in the language of doctrine and morality (the “dictatorship of relativism”) has no more of a future within the perennial Catholic Church than did mongrel Esperanto among the languages of secular nations.

      The German jellyfish-bishops seek “nuance,” when the real need is a backbone implant.

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