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German bishops announce plans to bless same-sex unions, allow laypeople to baptize and preach at Mass

AC Wimmer By AC Wimmer for CNA

‘Synodal Way’ flags fly in front of the Congress Center Messe Frankfurt in Germany. / Max von Lachner/Synodal Way.

CNA Staff, Mar 17, 2023 / 08:53 am (CNA).

Following the conclusion of the German Synodal Way, several bishops have announced plans to put into practice resolutions passed by the process, including liturgical blessings of same-sex unions in their churches.

The Synodal Way, which concluded in Frankfurt on March 11, “give[s] us the tailwind we need for concrete changes in our diocese,” Bishop Franz-Josef Bode of Osnabrück said March 14.

Bode — who is vice president of the German Bishops’ Conference — said his diocese encouraged “all couples in our diocese who cannot or do not want to marry in church but still want to put their relationship under a church blessing” to “get in touch with us.” He added that such celebrations were already available in some parishes of his diocese.

Bode on Tuesday also announced that laypeople would be able to baptize babies and “regularly” preach at homilies, CNA Deutsch reported.

Another German prelate, Bishop Heiner Wilmer of Hildesheim, added his support, telling staff in his diocese: “It is of great importance to me that LGBTQ people are accompanied pastorally, spiritually, and liturgically. I welcome the Synodal Way’s endorsement of establishing a task force to develop a handout for celebrations of blessing for same-sex couples as well as remarried divorcees,” CNA Deutsch reported.

On Friday last week, the German bishops and other delegates of the Synodal Way passed a resolution to develop and provide Church blessings to same-sex unions.

Titled “Blessing ceremonies for couples who love each other,” the measure was opposed by only nine of 58 bishops, while 11 bishops abstained.

German bishops who have previously voiced public support for the blessing of same-sex unions in the Catholic Church include Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising and Bishop Heinrich Timmerervers of Dresden-Meißen.

In March 2022, Cardinal Marx said he had personally blessed a same-sex couple in Los Angeles.

One year earlier, in March 2021, the Vatican confirmed that the Catholic Church does not have the power to give liturgical blessings to homosexual unions. Answering the question “does the Church have the power to give the blessing to unions of persons of the same sex,” the Congregation — now the Dicastery — for the Doctrine of the Faith responded: “Negative.”

In an accompanying note, the Vatican’s doctrine office explained that blessings are sacramentals, and “consequently, in order to conform with the nature of sacramentals, when a blessing is invoked on particular human relationships, in addition to the right intention of those who participate, it is necessary that what is blessed be objectively and positively ordered to receive and express grace, according to the designs of God inscribed in creation, and fully revealed by Christ the Lord.”

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  1. So does this mean that Pope Francis is now going to let all Catholic Bishops and Priests, from around the world, simply govern their Catholic flock in any way that they want to?

  2. Just disgusting on every proposal. I look forward to hearing that the Pope has excommunicated all of these Bishops from the CATHOLIC church. Should he fail to do so,and attempt to co-opt this into the larger church, I suspect the movement to the Latin Mass will be massive.There is nothing to stop them from breaking away too. If the Germans want to run a carnival side-show, let them do it with a new church name and someone else’s money. I hope the Bishops who lacked the spine to veto this know that they will have to account for their actions to God one day. Or, maybe they dont believe that anymore either.

    • Francis held two private meetings with James Martin and has yet to correct or condemn Cardinal McElroy’s false teachings about human sexuality. Not sure we should hold our breath waiting for Francis to grow a spine and actually do his job, sad to say.

    • That’s just it. It is their money. This is why it’s a big deal. The German church is the richest church in the world — by far.

  3. Ugh. The more of the LEFTIST crazy I see in the church, the more attractive the traditional movement in the church becomes.

    • “Yuck” was my immediate reaction to this headline—neither a theological nor reasoned response. “Ugh” is understandable, too. I cannot envision a more chaotic—dare one say “hellish” spiritual environment than one with thousands of shrill voices spouting their self deified opinions to whole congregations. By the way, I have experienced this squeamish environment on a small scale. The devil is definitely in the details.

  4. It’s hard to imagine that German seminaries are bursting with candidates for the priesthood, or that a move such as this will attract even a few. Anyone actually serious about the faith will head for the FSSP or some similar traditionalist order.

  5. Hey! What about pedophilia? Is the big-tented, new and improved catholic church going to let calendars dictate who we love?

    And what about sibling romance? Isn’t that just more ways to love?

    And what about unions between humans and their beloved pets? Is the new now-a-go-go church going to turn its back on other-species-attracted persons?

    Doesn’t God love *these* people too? Don’t *they* fit inside the big new catholic tent of love?

    And what about people who masturbate? Shouldn’t the church recognize these special self-satisfying relationships? Shouldn’t they be allowed to marry themselves?

    The evil one’s minions on the left have finally taken off their masks. And the writhing, wormy, pustulous visage beneath is not a pretty sight.

  6. If a faithful Pontiff was manning the helm on the Barque of Peter all of the protestants masquerading as Catholic clergy in Germany – and elsewhere – would have already been dismissed from the clerical state and received Ferendae Sententiae excommunications.

    Repent Jorge, while you still can.

  7. Pope Francis said in November that he doesn’t want another Protestant Church in Germany. Well, your holiness, it’s not about what you want. It’s about what you deserve. And it certainly looks like what you’re going to get.

  8. Christ never turned anyone away from his ministry. It is better that us sinners sit together in church and listen to the word of God than for us sinners being locked out.

    • “Locked out,” or, as in any and all of us (inclusivity!) not listening?

      As in the “word of God”: “Then Peter continued preaching for a long time, strongly urging all his listeners, “Save yourselves from this perverse generation!” (Acts 2:40).

      Or, maybe this from St. Paul: “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor 6:9-11).

    • Gerald, you’re right that Jesus never turned people away. But he absolutely let them leave if they were not inclined to live according to his teachings.

      He even invited them to go.

      And clearly the German Church has many, many people who have no intention of living as Catholics.

      And so they are determined to destroy the faith they have rejected.

      • I wonder what will happen to those Germans who do intend to live as Catholics in these apostate German dioceses. We need to pray for them and the Vatican needs to proactively protect and provide authentic and faithful worship alternatives for them.
        Pope Francis started his pontificate by famously urging “let’s make a mess.” He has succeeded in enabling that in Germany and is now trying to get the toothpaste back in the tube.

    • True, Jesus never turned anyone away. However, He always told people that they had to give up their sinful lives. He never condemned the sinners, but He always insisted that they repent and change their lives. As for myself, I have been and am a sinner, but I have repented, and with the grace of God, I am trying to live a holy life. I could not remain how I was.

  9. Well, keep in mind the old song, And the Beat Goes On. “Do you ever wonder That to win, somebody’s got to lose”.
    It’s not complex. If Germany’s Synodale Weg is permitted by the Vatican to win, then who is the loser? Or rather, to be Justifiably cynical, true to Byzantium on the Tiber long range policy is it that to win we permit the loss?
    A current essay ‘Cardinals Müller, Burke rebuke German bishops over same-sex union blessings’ raises an issue of interpretation of events and response. Raymond Arroyo in an interview with both Cardinals [to which the essay was drawn] were asked the usual questions except at the end, Arroyo asked Müller what he thought about Francis’ 10 year legacy. Card Müller made no reference to Pope Francis. Whatsoever. He kind of rambled almost incoherently about German Synodale orthodoxy that if anyone listening would think his response was entirely to the second question Arroyo pinned on the tail of the first.
    A weakness of our best hierarchy is the unwillingness to be more direct on the paramount issue of Francis’ pontificate [Burke was miles ahead of Müller on candor], his policies, the effects within the Church. Almost as if they have a sacred duty never to express legitimate queries that really must be addressed in line with their mission as defenders of the faith. Card Müller was among the first orthodox churchmen to denounce the four Dubia cardinals, Card Burke one of four. It seems a form of Ultramontanism.

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