Limburg / Cologne (dpa) – The chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference, Georg Bätzing, has clearly criticized the Vatican’s ban on blessings for gay couples.
He could understand the misunderstanding of the faithful “and share it explicitly,” said Bätzing in an interview on the website of his Limburg diocese. The Vatican had declared last week that gay couples should not be blessed because this was “objectively” not God’s will. This has sparked a storm of protest in the Catholic Church in Germany. On the day of the declaration, Bätzing initially made a cautious statement, but has now followed up.
“Believers in the Church no longer accept simple answers and demand changes,” explains the bishop of Limburg, known as a reformer and bridge builder. “A document that so blatantly closes itself in its reasoning from the theological and human-scientific advancement of knowledge will lead pastoral practice to ignore it.” The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith would do better to initiate a process of discussion in the universal Church. “I am deeply convinced that Catholic sexual doctrine needs further development in light of the human sciences and theological knowledge that has existed for decades,” said Bätzing.
If the congregation claims that the church does not have the authority to change its teaching, then it is hurting its own authority because the fact is that the church has developed its teaching in many ways. “Change has always been part of the nature of the Church. Anyone who refuses to do so endangers the unity of the church, ”said Bätzing. On Monday, more than 230 theology professors from German-speaking countries took a stand against the Vatican’s statement and criticized its theological quality.
Apparently, the Vatican’s letter also focused on the current reform process of the Catholic Church in Germany, Bätzing said. For him, however, it is certain that this synodal path will continue and that decisions will also be made. However, with regard to Rome, it must be said that “there is clearly no constructive discussion of our issues there yet”. He demanded respect for the seriousness of the German process.
The Cologne cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki meanwhile sided with Rome. “In unity with Pope Francis and the Church,” he sees in the statement “a reinforcement of the Catholic understanding of marriage and family,” Woelki said in Cologne on Wednesday. In an interview with “Die Zeit”, he indicated that the latest wave of criticism of him in the media could indeed be traced back to the conservative views he represented. “Yes, we made mistakes in Cologne,” said Woelki. ‘But I think the outrage has more to do with myself. … They wanted to ask me about my views. “
The strange political spokesman for the Greens in the Bundestag, Sven Lehmann, sharply criticized Woelki. His statements documented “open rejection of lesbians and gays.” With this he consciously opposes the broad reform movement in the Catholic Church. Such a cardinal simply does not fit in the cosmopolitan and vibrant metropolis of Cologne.