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German Catholic bishops’ leader calls for change to Catechism on sexuality

CNA Staff   By CNA Staff

Limburg Bishop Georg Batzing speaks during a March 3, 2020, news conference in Mainz after being elected as the new president of the German bishops' conference. (CNS photo/Harald Oppitz, KNA)

Munich, Germany, Mar 4, 2022 / 11:30 am (CNA).

The chairman of the German Catholic bishops’ conference has called for changes to Church teaching on sex outside of marriage and homosexuality.

In an interview with the German magazine Bunte published on March 4, Bishop Georg Bätzing agreed with the journalist’s assertion that “no one” adhered to the Church’s teaching that sexuality should only be practiced within marriage, saying: “That’s true. And we have to somewhat change the Catechism on this matter. Sexuality is a gift from God. And not a sin.”

Asked if same-sex relationships were permissible, the German prelate replied: “Yes, it’s OK if it’s done in fidelity and responsibility. It doesn’t affect the relationship with God.”

Bätzing, the bishop of Limburg, western Germany, added: “How someone lives their personal intimacy is none of my business.”

No one employed by the Church should be afraid of losing their job because of this, he said.

The German theologian Martin Brüske sharply criticized Bätzing’s comments in an interview with CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner.

“Bishop Georg Bätzing’s argument here is tricky,” he said. “He is implying that the Catechism and thus the tradition of the Church are somehow saying that sexuality is sin. What I would like to know from him is this: Where does he find such a statement in the Catechism or in Church tradition?”

In fact, the theologian added, the Church had always rejected such a view as erroneous.

“By contrasting this false assertion with his second assertion — that sexuality is without restriction a gift of God, the entire area is removed from ethical reflection. According to this logic, there is no longer any need to clarify or distinguish how sexuality is practiced. There is no longer any distinction made as to which sexual behavior is self-serving or expresses mutual appropriation.”

Brüske emphasized that the Church’s moral teaching had ordered sexuality toward the conjugal love of a man and a woman. The Catechism affirms: “Consequently, sexuality, in which man and woman give themselves to one another through the acts proper and reserved to the spouses, is by no means something purely biological, but concerns the innermost core of the human person as such.” In it, they would “make each other rich in joy and gratitude.”

Brüske said that by abandoning sacramental marriage as the exclusive place of sexuality between man and woman, the orientation toward the Gospel would also be abandoned and replaced by one directed at contemporary culture.

“The abysses of contemporary culture are completely overlooked, in particular what I would call its actual sociology of desire, in which people are often violated in the area of their sexuality,” he said.

The ethicist, who teaches in Switzerland, said that early Christianity, in its orientation toward Jesus, offered a radical contrast compared to the culture of the time.

“Precisely because of this, it was attractive, and helped wounded people to find healing,” he said.

Bätzing does not appear to see that, Brüske told CNA Deutsch. “He is obviously blind both to the origins and to our present. This leaves me sad and perplexed. And also a little angry. Because such naiveté is actually not allowed,” he commented.

In the Bunte interview, Bishop Georg Bätzing also spoke out in favor of abolishing priestly celibacy and ordaining women — positions recently endorsed by participants in the German “Synodal Way.”

Brüske said that rather than playing the role of a moderator, “the chairman of the German bishops’ conference identifies unreservedly with demands for a total revision of the sexual morality of the Church, the abolition of celibacy, the ordination of women.”

He added that, with a view to the controversial Synodal Way, it was highly problematic for the chairman to advance such an agenda.

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  1. Neither a Catholic nor a leader. Also illiterate about the Catechism…

    Batzing’s posture in the “synodal way,” and Hollerich’s in the front-to-back “synod on synodality,” is that of leading from behind. A homosexual sort of orientation. When will these clowns in purple and red hats no longer be given a pass as presumptive “successors to the apostles”? Or even as mouthpieces for a presumed, bigoted, and rigid “paradigm-shift” or “anthropological-cultural change”?

    Any adult in the room, please turn the lights on.

  2. I’m glad that CWR chose to run a photo of Bishop Batzing in a business suit rather than in his clerical garb.

    After all, he sounds like just another corporate mouthpiece.

    I’m sure that by merging with three or four of the more prosperous Protestant denominations, the Catholic Church could enjoy significant economies of scale.

    Anybody remember that Jesus guy we used to try to emulate? Whatever happened to Him anyway?

    • Seemingly someone who chose a corporate career path rather than a vocation. Seems to have paid off considering his “promotion” to positions of authority. Have to keep your focus on “brand” relevance.

    • Yet, would repentance be even better?

      Acts 3:19 Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out,

      Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

      2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance

      • Yes, Mr. Young. Repentance would certainly be better. But at this time Bishop Batzing is being left unchecked by any authority which is a failure of charity. Excommunication would be just the corrective necessary to get the attention of the Bishop in question. Excommunication would be an act of charity in this case ideally precipitating the repentance for which you advocate.

        • @ Mr Meynier:

          You probably have the better solution. A man opposed to the direction of Holy Scripture is not a reliable guide.

          Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

          Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

          God bless you my brother,

          Brian Young

  3. The good of the shocking exposures such as above helping many to see the extent of the dust and darkness that has to be dealt with , bringing more light and clarity to the words of the Holy Father from his aching heart who desires for such worldliness to become dust and ashes ,knowing how such hypocrisy can make persons incapable of loving ..that he needs the help of the whole Church , to drive out the darkness .. his humility in seeking help , as a counter and reparation to the attitudes that led to the previous errors , even if well intentioned , in desiring to keep up appearances , his blessing in good will and exhortation over the years , to always stand together for the common good , that is helping the world to come together to deal with ‘ the aggressor ‘ who too pretends to be Christian …

    Lord has entrusted many Sts to continue their mission in our lives from heaven ;
    Feast of St.Casimir today , also death anniv. of S.G .Luisa of Divine Will –

    May all their prayers help us all , to receive the Peace given by The Lord , in the holiness and its order that He desires to grant us as well as in the blessings granted by the Holy Father , to set us all free from all sorts of spirits of the antiChrist , its lies meant to induce despair and confusion …

    May the mighty Patronage of St.Joseph who found strength and joy in making of himself a gift in holiness and purity to God and to the Family speak to the hearts even while asleep ..

    • Dear Sir:

      Romans 10:9 Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

      Acts 4:12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

      John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

      Hebrews 13:15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.

      Psalm 115:1 Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!

      God bless you as we strive to honour and uphold His unchanging word!

      Yours in Christ,

      Brian Young

    • Dear Sir:

      Though I replied to your comments ( emphasizing Holy Scripture) it was unacceptable to the moderator. In the end it doesn’t matter! That the comment was read by someone is enough. I was once resistant to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and thank God for His patience. May the Lord bless and draw neigh to the one who read it.

      Yet, I am only guest and respect the decision of the moderator.

      God’s richest blessings to one and all,

      Brian Young

  4. Well, Pope Francis?

    Your silence has helped much in forging these new chains of spiritual oppression under the guise of a false compassion buoyed by your support of an unconstrained German Synod.

  5. The Spanish-speaking Church,the English-speaking Church and more are dying; please go away. We don’t need or want your “Church.” Leave us to our struggle and hierarchy betrayal. Leave.

  6. Musta hit pretty darn close to the mark with the ol’ Mystery Babylon comment, eh? I realize quoting scripture on a Catholic website is a big no no, but come on guys, you should at least strive for a semblance of the Christian spirit….

    Censored in 3-2-1

    • Joe,

      I believe you are referring to the work of Alexander Hislop, who during the nineteenth century wrote a book linking Catholic teachings to the beliefs of ancient pre-Christian religions.

      You may not be aware that Hislop’s own disciple, Ralph Woodrow, after writing a book that restated his master’s claims for a twentieth century audience, discovered that Hislop’s scholarship was slipshod and his assumptions unfounded.

      So, being a man of integrity, Woodrow wrote the book, ‘The Babylon Connection’, which exposes the flaws in Hislop’s work.

      You need to update yourself.

      And, so long as you remain civil, you have no worries about being “censored.” CWR and its habituees have no fear of honest debate.

      Go ahead. Try to discredit our Catholic faith. You can scarcely do a better job than some of our own bishops.

      • @ brineyman:

        It is better when men share their faith rather than trying to “discredit” the other mans conviction! We are to speak the truth in love. God is truth and love and we become useful servants to our fellow man if we abide in His word.

        Does His word hinder us? Instead His word is a guide post and a restraint, keeping us or others from damage. He performs nothing that would injure our relationship with Him. We protect our children from harm and those who love the Lord are given divine protection (most often unseen).

        Psalm 103:2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,

        2 Samuel 22:50 “For this I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations, and sing praises to your name.

        Mark 10:27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”

        Psalm 71:8 My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all the day.

        To gain context on Mark !0:27, I would invite any to read a few verses ahead and a few afterward.

        God bless you as we strive to honour Jesus.


        Brian Young

  7. Instead of changing the Church’s two millennia of teachings to accommodate a bunch of apostates and relativists (who won’t return to Sunday Mass anyway), the German taking part in this Synodal Way should instead follow the example of their hero, Martin Luther, and leave the Catholic Church they despise so much to found their own, based on moral relativism and sexual license.

  8. I’m a divorced Catholic. I know of course that there is no such thing as divorce for a Catholic. So my challenge is to live a chaste life as a man. It gives me no comfort to hear certain bishops push for a change to the Catechism. Jesus said that the law of Moses regarding adultery was still valid, and went on to give a wider definition of adultery that challenges us all.
    I need to be reminded of God’s forgiveness when I sin, instead of being told sin does not exist.

      • A lot of divorced Catholics aren’t interested in obtaining a declaration of nullity. Many simply want their estranged spouse to honor and abide by the vows they professed in front of Almighty God and hundreds of witnesses.

  9. Jesus would have said that “anything goes,” right? He would not have rebuked the Pharisees, if anything goes. He would not have healed anyone, if anything goes. There would have been no need for His crucifixion, as long as anything goes. Bishop Georg Batzing seems to have missed the very idea that Catholicism is to be counter-cultural in order to stand for what’s right and good. It’s always a sin when our leaders, who are supposed to set an example, kowtow to the culture and demand that the Church do the same. The rock doesn’t change. If you have a problem with pushing the rock uphill, it’s likely you and not the rock.

  10. Would it be impropriety to suspect Herr Bätzing’s SynodalWay outrages criticized by the Vatican, yet wondrously permitted to continue are a reverse psychological foil to slip into the Great Synod on synodality as advances in the social anthropological sciences?
    After all Jean-Claude Cardinal Hollerich SJ, more circumspect though of same mind as Herr Bätzing was appointed by His Holiness with the key Great Synod position as relator. Must we then abide to a non formal magisterial approval [convinced that God, who alone is good would not permit it, a formal declaration] of same sex adult relations? No.

  11. He needs to be excommunicated from the Catholic Church…. here you have a bishop in Wisc. taking away a priest from his parish, can’t celebrate Mass, because Fr. Altman mentions in his sermons what needs to be told… it’s getting real bad out there if we continue to allow men like this,Batzing gets to say what he says without anyone (pope) excommunicating!!The bible doesn’t change, and it is God word!!Pray pray pray the rosary every day to keep the Catholic Church strong…..

  12. Really Bishop?? Yes, sexuality is a gift, but it is not a gift to be abused. It seems to me that God considered sexual sin a HUGE problem when it was committed by King David in the form of adultery. The death of his child was the punishment. It is the LACK of the church speaking against current sexual practices in the last several decades, such as couples living together, and serial “monogamy”, as well as homosexuality and transgenderism which has added to this problematic situation. One can condemn the sin but forgive the sinner, which policy is the heart of the church. Is surgically changing one’s sex to something OTHER than the gift given them by God also ok? What about incest and pedophilia? What about the use of pornography in which women are often abused victims, accompanied by masturbation?. ALL of this counts as sexuality, Bishop.The destructive use of sexuality, which among humans is all too common, creates intense emotional hurt at times and is an abuse of this gift. Hence the need for rules. Rules which the church put in place but has seemingly grow too cowardly in recent decades to preach, as society has gone the way of the libertine. Homosexuality has long been condemned by the church. The act, not the person. It is pretty clear in the Bible that certain behaviors are condemned, period.”Anything goes” has NEVER been the policy of the church, whether or not liberated leftist political types like it. I suggest the Bishop take his liberal act to the nearest Protestant denomination, if one will have him.We will be waving as you leave. A smaller more faithful church does not seem like a bad option to me. As to the lack of comment or action by the Pope in the face of this obscene betrayal by the German church, silence is not an option.

  13. This kind of stupidity is precisely why I have no desire to participate in any of these so-called “synod listening sessions” going on at parishes the US- (and world) over. I am quite convinced contraception is siful/wrong/unworkable. As is sodomy. As is divorce, porn, adultery, etc.
    The Church is holding on to the truth/reality by a very thin thread. I’m not going to be involved in helping to cut it

  14. “Brüske said that by abandoning sacramental marriage as the exclusive place of sexuality between man and woman, the orientation toward the Gospel would also be abandoned and replaced by one directed at contemporary culture.”

    This German theologian, Bruske, is spot on. He rightly condemns the views of this Bishop. Pope Francis allows people from all sides to put forward their views. Some would be good, some would be faulty and there will also be insults, but he knows that the Holy Spirit will lead us all on the right journey. Just as the Holy Spirit did in the early Church as mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles. Pope Francis says we should Trust the Holy Spirit.

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