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German Catholics defy Vatican with blessing ceremonies for same-sex couples

CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner, reported that ceremonies took place in around 80 cities in Germany as well in Zürich, Switzerland’s largest city.

A blessing service as part of a day of action in defiance to the Vatican’s ruling on same-sex unions in the Youth Church in Würzburg, Germany, May 10, 2021. (Gehrig/CNA Deutsch)

CNA Staff, May 10, 2021 / 14:35 pm (CNA).

Priests and pastoral workers in Germany defied the Vatican Monday by conducting blessing ceremonies attended by same-sex couples.

Organizers held a day of protest on May 10 in response to the Vatican’s recent declaration that the Church does not have the power to bless same-sex unions.

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.

CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner, reported that ceremonies took place in around 80 cities in Germany as well in Zürich, Switzerland’s largest city.

But it said that it was difficult to calculate the precise number of blessing services.

In the Bavarian city of Würzburg — but also in other locations such as Aachen, Berlin, Frankfurt, Mainz, and Cologne — several services were held at the same time.

Almost 130 participants gathered in the Augustinian Church, not far from Würzburg Cathedral, while almost 40 people attended a ceremony in the youth church at the same time.

Observers in Cologne, Munich, and Würzburg reported to CNA Deutsch that in many places a “modest number” took part in the campaign.

A participant reported from Cologne that a total of six couples were blessed in the chapel of the local Catholic university community and a total of 23 people were present.

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 organizers of a service at the Liebfrauenkirche in Frankfurt, “At the end of the Mass (…) Capuchin friars were available to all couples for personal blessings.” The church, dedicated to Mary, belongs to the Diocese of Limburg, led by Bishop Georg Bätzing, chairman of the German bishops’ conference.

In the Augustinian Church in Würzburg too all couples — expressly including same-sex couples — were invited to “come and get” the individual blessing in a backroom, after the service.

The order of service varied from place to place. A participant who attended the blessing ceremony in Cologne told CNA Deutsch that the ceremony was like a “political event.” The event was led by a female pastoral counselor in liturgical robes, who explained that she had already quit her church service.

After some political statements, the Gospel was read aloud, followed by a speech. Finally, the song “Imagine” by John Lennon was played.

At the Würzburg youth church, an organizer spoke about the “anger and sadness” that had prevailed since the Vatican letter arrived. A temporary “wall” was set up in the sanctuary and participants were asked to write down “everything that upsets you” and place it there.

The Church should not presume to define what love is, the organizer commented: “Love is not a sin, we are all blessed, fundamentally. Let us build on that.”

At the same time, in the nearby Augustinian Church, the priest emphasized that God’s blessing belongs to “all people.”

“We can’t help but bless,” the priest continued, adding that those who blessed same-sex partnerships were following their consciences.

Würzburg student pastor Fr. Burkard Hose confirmed in his address during the blessing ceremony that in the past many people had been blessed “in secret.”

“We will continue to do this,” he said, adding: “The Church does not have the authority to withhold blessings.”

Some blessings took place before May 10. Diocesan media reported that on May 7 in the city of Geldern, North Rhine-Westphalia, two Catholic priests conducted blessings of 35 couples before an altar covered with a rainbow flag.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) issued its declaration on March 15 in a document known as a “Responsum ad dubium” (response to a question). In reply to the query, “does the Church have the power to give the blessing to unions of persons of the same sex?” the CDF answered, “Negative.” The congregation outlined its reasoning in an explanatory note and accompanying commentary.

The Vatican statement, issued with the approval of Pope Francis, sparked protests in the German-speaking Catholic world. Several bishops expressed support for blessings of same-sex couples, while churches displayed LGBT pride flags, and a group of more than 200 theology professors signed a statement criticizing the Vatican.

The backlash prompted bishops in other countries to express fears that the German Church was heading for schism. They included English Bishop Philip Egan, Australian Cardinal George Pell, and Italian Cardinal Camillo Ruini.

Cardinal Joseph Zen, the former bishop of Hong Kong, added his name to an appeal, launched in Portugal, asking Rome to take action to stop a “schism” in Germany.

German Catholics have also criticized the day of blessing services. The group “Maria 1.0” urged the country’s bishops to unite with Rome in face of the protests.

Helmut Hoping, a professor of dogmatic theology at the University of Freiburg, told CNA Deutsch that some of the priests conducting blessings “also openly advocate opening the sacrament of marriage to same-sex couples in the medium term.”

The theologian also spoke of “schismatic tendencies” in the Church in Germany.

He said that “in several areas of Church doctrine and discipline, communion with the pope is being severed, for example when priests violate the clear ‘no’ of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to blessings of same-sex couples, which was published with the approval of the pope, and when bishops declare in advance that they generously tolerate this or declare such blessings theologically possible and pastorally necessary.”

Fr. Gero Weishaupt, a judicial vicar in the Archdiocese of Cologne and scholar of canon law, noted in an interview with CNA Deutsch that former Vatican doctrinal chief Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller and other theologians have warned for some of a possible schism in Germany.

“And one can ask oneself whether it is not already latently realized,” Weishaupt commented.

Several German bishops have previously spoken in favor of blessings for homosexual unions, including Georg Bätzing (Limburg), Franz-Josef Overbeck (Essen), Helmut Dieser (Aachen), Reinhard Marx (Munich and Freising), Franz-Josef Bode (Osnabrück), Peter Kohlgraf (Mainz), and Heinrich Timmerevers (Dresden-Meissen).

CNA Deutsch reported that the bishop of Essen said in an interview last month that he would “not suspend a priest in his diocese or impose other Church penalties on him” if the cleric blessed same-sex couples.

Essen diocese recently hosted an event declaring that same-sex blessings were a matter of “not if, but how.”

But other German bishops have welcomed the CDF’s intervention. Among them are Rainer Maria Woelki (Cologne), Stephan Burger (Freiburg), Ulrich Neymeyr (Erfurt), Gregor Maria Hanke (Eichstätt), Wolfgang Ipolt (Görlitz), Stefan Oster (Passau), and Rudolf Voderholzer (Regensburg).

Bishop Bätzing, elected leader of the German bishops’ conference in 2020, said last month that the day of protest was not a “helpful sign.”

He added that blessing services were “not suitable as an instrument for Church-political demonstrations or protest actions.”

In a May 6 interview with ACI Stampa, CNA’s Italian-language news partner, the 60-year-old bishop insisted that the Church in Germany remained close to Rome, despite tensions over same-sex blessings, Communion for Protestants, and the country’s “Synodal Way.”

He said: “It is absolutely clear that there are matters that we can only discuss at the level of the Universal Church. We will contribute from Germany with our reflections.”

“However, I would like to reject the accusation repeatedly used of us being schismatics or of wanting to detach ourselves as the German national Church from Rome. Our bond with Rome and the Holy Father is very tight.”


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32 Comments

  1. Says Bishop Batzing: “I would like to reject the accusation repeatedly used of us being schismatics or of wanting to detach ourselves as the German national Church from Rome.”

    Even before Church synodal disunity, common sense says: the difference between the male sexual member and a sigmoidoscope or coloniscope is more than just the spelling. And, to the ecclesial point, there is no “German national Church,” although there used to be a Catholic Church in Germany–which now has been synodally penetrated from below.

    • You fall for this when you believe “The Big Falsehood” promoted in schools of higher learning, the medical establishment(particularly the mental health wing that has compromised their scientific integrity to conform to the demands of the LGBT activist movement) and the media that Drs. J. Michael Bailey, Dean Hamer, and Simon LeVay had proven that being LGBT was biologically determined to the world – even though it cannot be supported in the scientific literature ( each one also patently denies it). This overlooks a psychological truth noted by priest-psychologist Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Keefe. Namely, that all psychological disorders or unhealthy adaptations, if you will, originate in the subconscious or unconscious portions of our minds or psyches and ordered or healthy ones originate the conscious or pre-conscious portions. (If I.ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: Don’t forget the reality and power of the unconscious portion of our minds. In both acute neurotic episodes in my youth, they came out of nowhere like something I was genetically afflicted with. I can’t remember one thing I did consciously to deliberately cause them.)
      Consequently, many are misled to falsely draw the following seemingly logical conclusions: !. If some people are born with LGBT, then God made them that way. (Never mind that some are born blind, deaf, both blind and deaf, with cleft lips, and with blue baby syndrome as well, for example.)
      2. If God made them that way, how can there be something sinful or “intrinsically disordered” about acting on those attractions?
      3. If LGBT is in a persons nature, then he or she (or “he” or “she”) cannot change.
      4. We are supposed to be true to our nature, so those with LGBT should embrace those attractions.
      5. Attempting to change a person’s LGBT is attempting to alter their nature, and that would be harmful.
      6. If others cannot accept a person’s LGB or T identity, then they are rejecting the person, because LGB or T is who that person is.
      7. Therefore, those who cannot accept a person’s LGB or T identity are uneducated, hateful, and/or bigoted.
      These seven points are behind a human resource policy conformity accepted across the board, even with Fortune 500 and 1000 companies (So many CEO’s have been vocal). Human Resource Managers and their training across the board are in line with this conformity too. In fact, Dr. Simon LeVay (self-identified homosexual and researcher) noted years ago: “People who think that gays are born that way are also more likely to support gay rights.”
      Another thing that misleads many to be all the way affirming of LGBT activity and lifestyles are the friends, family, neighbors, mentors and other associates who identify as LGBT and are kind, intelligent, creative, and loving individuals. (I love and admire me some Robin Roberts, for example.) This exhibits another truth touted by Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Keefe which is that health and unhealth are not mutually excluding. He says that most people with disorders or unhealthy adaptations have deep, and often very deep reserves of health. I would add that I believe that they can have deep, often very deep reserves of goodness as well in spite of their sin. These are two of the sources of the “positive aspects” the CDF decree spoke to (but probably not enough). One more distinction needs to be made between different aspects of LGBT activity, namely the sex acts themselves and the non-sex act sexual things and the friendship aspect of their relationships (which is obviously good) and the sexualization of those friendships (which is obviously sinful). First, the sex acts themselves morally bad in the for of a corpse because they’re putrid sight and “sight”, feel and “feel” and certainly to “smell” if not at least at times to actual smell as well. The non-sex act sexual things (hugs, french kisses, caresses, etc.) are morally bad in the form of a ghost ( for one thing because they’re the same that we heteros engage in and they can be done out in the open with no legal repercussions) because they’re not the sex acts themselves and, since we are not schizophrenic where our thoughts and feelings are cut off from each other, they can engender the positive feelings we associate with our and other heteros engaging in them when we see them do them. We are on this side of glory suffering from the effects of the Fall after all. Not having dealt enough with these distinctions and the hows and whys of the positive aspects of their relationships can leave many, even clergy, at a loss at how resolve these with “intrinsic disorder”.
      Add to this that Freud put psychoanalysis on shaky ground because he was infatuated with Darwin’s theory of evolution and Darwin was infatuated with the success of the physical sciences which then didn’t have the Big Bang theory but the Solid State that said the universe always existed in a solid state which is inherently materialist and atheist. Combine this with him getting into the false dichotomy of choosing whether to base it on spirituality or materialism. Since we’re both spiritual with our souls and material with our bodies. Sadly, he chose the material which led him to such absurd conclusions like “Love is sex minus sex” which reduces us to sex maniacs. It made psychoanalysis vulnerable to eventually removing homosexuality from the official treatment manual because if straight same sex individuals being friends with each other is them being homosexual without the sex then what’s wrong with them being that with the sex? is the next question.

  2. Well, Francis, what is it going to be?

    Either the Church has the authority Christ claimed or disordered desires trumps the truth.

    • If past behavior is any predictor of future performance, Francis will say nothing but to condemn in words which also condone. The difference in a few letters only serves to show he has no opinion. Church teaching? Who is he to judge now that he’s the star of the show in the sky.

  3. They’re calling damnation down upon themselves.

    Isaiah 5:20 Woe to you that call evil good, and good evil: that put darkness for light, and light for darkness: that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.

    24 Therefore as the tongue of the fire devoureth the stubble, and the heat of the dame consumeth it: so shall their root be as ashes, and their bud shall go up se dust: for they have cast away the law of the Lord of hosts, and have blasphemed the word of the Holy One of Israel.

    and

    Proverbs 17: 15He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, both are abominable before God.

    • Lesley: The Hebrew god and the triune god of Christianity are not one and the same, likewise the Hebrew god and the god that according to gospel scripture Jesus advanced are not one and the same. Consider this: the Eternal One, i.e., the Hebrew God, calls for holy war. Check him out in Deuteronomy 21. Jesus the preacher of love, and for Christianity, the theandric Christ of love, never preached holy war, which, in keeping with his principle of love, is an absurd, blasphemous notion. A base contradiction. Remember also that Jesus said nothing about homosexuality. He advanced above all love, for which man is meant. One must love even one’s enemy, a quantuum leap in religious counsel, resolving the perennial problem of alterity at the base of so much strife throughout the ages.

      There are many heterosexual couples who are exemplars of love; there are many homosexual couples who also are models of love. As for procreation, don’t worry, heterosexual lovers will always beget children. Nobody is forcing you nor your children to be homosexual. So what is the problem? Love, and let others love as their heart wills. Christians must unshackle themselves of needless taboos that impinge on Jesus’ teaching. Life is too brief to live with 1001 rules and taboos accrued like barnacles on a hull of a ship, weighing it down unnecessarily, stunting its flow.

      Keep your rules of life simple, essential and few. Be and let be.

  4. I remember back in childhod we learned that we one Catholic Faith. Is there anything that Church will stand up and defend?

  5. And the response of the Pope Pachamama to notorious mass apostasy and heresy in Germany on May 10 is utter silence. May God deliver us already from faithless and corrupt shepherds.

  6. Now, the big question is: How will the Vatican respond?
    My recommendation is that you not hold your breath. I expect complete silence, or at most, a brief note of pacifistic disapproval.

  7. Why is Germany doing this? What do they hope to accomplish? There’s a bit more to the story other than “love”. What do they think they’re blessing?

    • It seems that Germany has fully embraced the modernist heresy. Do they not realize that God does not bless what He has condemned?

      • Meaning what?

        From Imagine:

        “Imagine no religion, it’s easy if you try
        No hell below us, above us only sky”

        “Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can”

        This condescending remark from one who had enough money to last the rest of his life and lived in a fabulous apartment in probably the toniest building in New York.

        From ‘The Ballad of John and Yoko’:

        “C….t you know it ain’t easy, you know how tough it can be
        The way things are going they’re trying to crucify me.”

        I loved the Beatles but I never thought of any of them as visionaries, especially Lennon. His murder made him a martyr to some and he retains that status today.

  8. This is a disgrace! Heretical and un-Holy. May the church in Germany Repent of its SIN!
    All must pray for the Evil that is infiltrating the Church. Pope Francis MUST stop this and ALL those who defy the TRUTH of our FAITH.

  9. Let’s not fool ourselves. This pope will do nothing; after all, isn’t he the one who uttered the fateful words, “Who am I to judge?” And he will never risk the approval he now receives from elite EU-types and the media.

  10. Should all human desires be indulged? If not, who establishes the desires that may and may not be pursued? In the absence of the Church, the answer comes from a society’s prevailing perspectives. But history has demonstrated that societies, at one time or another, have endorsed every imaginable desire. As to endorsing only those desires that produce the “good”, how many Nazis and Bolsheviks looked in the mirror and told themselves that what they were doing was good? How many who have engaged in relations with children have looked in the mirror and told themselves this was good? Is the spirit of this or that age, or what each person considers to be good, the arbiter so many Germans and other Catholics prefer?

    • “Should all human desires be indulged? If not, who establishes the desires that may and may not be pursued”

      Yeah, what if I had a desire to go give the “priests and pastoral workers” a belt in the chops? Who are they to say I can’t?

  11. Encouraging an inauthentic life by blessing disordered relationships is sinful. I hope God enlightens these Germans and others throughout the world to an understanding of St. Thomas Aquinas’ definition of love: “Unselfishly willing the good of the other.” Good does not come from these relationships. Yes, you can love whoever you want to love, (unselfishly willing the good of the other). However, the marriage relationship is, according to the book of Genesis, meant to be between one man and one woman for the purpose of producing children, according to the laws of nature.

  12. There is no schism nor will there be a schism because there is a de facto acceptance of the actions of the German church on the part of the Vatican. “That’s the way it is” as Walter Cronkite used to say.

  13. Maybe the Vatican will ask Chelsea Clinton how to handle this problem. Or maybe Cardinal Gregory will ask Biden how to deal with it. You know, Cardinal Gregory “can have a conversation with this president.”

    It’s all turned into a sorry joke with this pontiff at the helm.

  14. Matt.8:25-27. The Lord has something terrible and great planned for this world as the days of Noah may be upon us. Let us ask Our Mother to pray for us that we might rejoice in our despair and for the Holy Spirit to give us the confidence away from the fear of a napping Lord. In your time, oh Lord, we pray.

  15. Having known same-sex couples, who after a lifetime together have been left in a legally precarious position at the end, I’ve supported same sex civil unions. To bring it to the Church is very wrong. It’s not necessary.

  16. And just today, the CDF has issued a warning to American bishops against denying communion to Biden and pro-abortion politicians. Are there any Catholics left in the Vatican? Certainly, Bergoglio is not one.

  17. The diabolical left will do anything to destroy the family.

    For my entire life, the left has attacked marriage: “I don’t need a piece of paper to tell me who I can love!” And: “If it feels good, do it!”

    This scornful attitude directed toward marriage served to undermine families across the culture for decades.

    But now the left would have us believe that, because the “loving couple” are of the same sex, marriage is suddenly sacred, fundamental and essential for happiness.

    As with their former skepticism about marriage, this newly minted reverence for it is meant only to degrade the family still further.

    The “same sex marriage” controversy in and of itself has allowed the left to create a moral equivalence between heterosexuality and homosexuality an equivalence that is extremely destructive to marriage and to families.

    If the sacramental expression of married couples’ love is no more precious or sacred than what homosexuals do, then marriage has been brought down to the level of any San Francisco bath house.

    I submit that it is no accident that the marriage rate in this country is in the process of cratering.

    We’re told by the Church that the intimate, generative love shared by a man and a woman in the Sacrament of Marriage is the best insight we have into the life of the Blessed Trinity.

    Not coincidentally, it is also the best way to ensure that the next generation is happy, prosperous and decent.

    So it’s no wonder that those on the death-dealing, satanic left have determined to do everything they can to destroy it.

    I agree with the others here who say that the German clerics who took part in this open defiance of God and His Church ought to be expelled — for many reasons, not the least of which is to protect the vulnerable faithful who struggle with this issue.

    We must ask ourselves: Do God’s laws and the Church’s teachings mean anything? Anything at all?

    Or may we simply follow our impulses wherever they may lead us?

    • We need to take the Church’s coherent and beautiful teachings to the culture. We need to explain why true marriage is completely different from homosexual acts.

      Including the truth that, unlike homosexuality, marriage is not primarily concerned with stimulation and satiety. Its ultimate purpose, in fact, is the safe and orderly creation of new life, in the sight of — and under the protection of — God.

      Which means that marriage, unlike homosexuality, is not ultimately focused on the sexual act. So, at its heart, marriage is other-oriented, not self-seeking.

      It is extremely discouraging to see Catholic bishops deceiving and misleading their flocks.

      • The April 29th British edition of ‘Vogue’ contains an article written by Nell Frizzell titled, ‘Is Having a Child Pure Environmental Terrorism?’

        Those who serve satan cannot abide new life in any form.

        So homosexual “marriage” — an oxymoron if ever there was one — is perfect for them.

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