Cologne / Munich (dpa) – With blessings also for gay couples, German Catholics oppose a ban by the Vatican on Monday.
After the first “Love wins” church services were held on Sunday, couples were blessed nationwide on the main day of the campaign – regardless of whether they were gay, lesbian or straight.
The Cologne band Brings supported the campaign with a new recording of their song “Liebe wins”. “Open your mouth and hang the colorful flags on the churches!” Profession singer Peter Brings.
The two husbands Andreas and Thomas were moved by an open-air blessing service in Cologne. Andreas (56) left years ago, but Thomas (59) remains loyal to the Church because he is convinced that it also does a lot of good. The blessing meant a lot to him, said Thomas: “He puts our relationship under the blessing of God. We think it is important that we are not only legally connected. “
In St. Benedict’s Church in Munich, a rainbow flag lay on the altar during the ceremony on Sunday evening. “It’s my concern to get that out of the backyards of the church — where it belongs: right in the middle of church life,” said Pastor Wolfgang Rothe. 48-year-old Christine Waldner and her partner Almut Münster were moved: “It was very moving.”
In total, about 100 services were held. An action of this nature and magnitude has not yet taken place in the church. Not everyone is happy with it. The Chairman of the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK), Thomas Sternberg, told the German news agency: “I can understand that, but I don’t know if the intimacy of God’s promise of blessing a love affair is appropriate for a politically demonstrative act. . “
Blessings for gay couples are already practiced in many Catholic parishes, they are not uncommon, Sternberg said. The question is whether they are suitable for a political manifestation. The chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference, Georg Bätzing, had already made a similar statement.
One of the initiators, Pastor Bernd Mönkebüscher from Hamm, contradicted this. Church services may of course not be instrumentalized. “On the other hand, every church service is political,” said Mönkebüscher of the German news agency. “In this context, I think the services are a solidarity with all those who are offended by this no from Rome.”
In March, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith made it clear that it was “not permissible” to bless homosexual partnerships, as such relationships “could not be recognized as objectively in accordance with God’s revealed plans.” Numerous Catholic associations and more than 280 theology professors protested against this in German-speaking countries.
The ban on blessings for gay couples is supported by conservative Cologne cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki. The Archdiocese of Cologne has announced talks with priests who are ignoring the ban. Volki’s attitude is particularly bizarre in the eyes of many believers because he has spent weeks justifying the promotion of a pastor who had previously admitted sex with a 17-year-old prostitute. Meanwhile, the pastor is on leave after further allegations became known. The Cologne Catholic Committee was “stunned”.
Pastor Ulrich Hinzen, who celebrated a blessing in the parish of the resurrection of Christ in Cologne, said he expected a response from the archdiocese. ‘I’ll face that. I am not afraid of such a conversation, nor am I afraid of sanctions. “He stands behind every statement in his sermon.
Hinzen had said, among other things, that sexuality was a “precious gift from God’s diverse creation.” “Our church will be asked critically whether the rigid ecclesiastical sexual morality has also contributed to the sexual immaturity of some priests who abused children and youth.” Sexual morality is subject to time-related changes that the Church cannot simply avoid. “A church that believes it can channel divine blessing in a particular direction is in violation of the commandment of love,” Hinzen said.
The acts of disobedience will continue the following Monday: On May 17 – the day of the Apostle Junia – the Catholic Women’s Community of Germany is calling for National Pastors Day. Twelve women then preach in Catholic Masses, which they are officially prohibited from doing. One of them, Ulrike Fendrich from Essen, said: “Women are called to preach. No one has the right to deny them this calling just because they are women. “