Cologne / Berlin (dpa) – “Blessing services for loved ones” will take place in Catholic churches nationwide Monday – including for gay couples, although the Vatican has recently explicitly banned this.
In total there are about 100 divine services, some of which were held on Sundays. An action of this nature and magnitude has not yet taken place in the church. The chairman of the German Conference of Bishops, Georg Bätzing, is not fundamentally against such blessings, but criticizes the initiative: blessing services are “not suitable as an instrument for church political events or protests”.
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. The word “protest” was never used by the initiators. “That only appeared in Bätzing’s statement.
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 Bund der Katholischen Jugend (BDKJ) on Sunday expressed its solidarity with pastors “who for reasons of conscience do not refuse to bless same-sex couples”. In addition, the BDKJ General Assembly called on bishops in Germany to “introduce a blessing ritual for same-sex relations in their dioceses”.
Mönkebüscher said the blessing services, as well as the many rainbow flags on the churches and the protest with signature lists, are visible signs of broad opposition to the Vatican’s ban. “What Rome has now said was not new. However, it was hoped that it would not be said again. And it was hoped that if Rome again expressed itself on such a subject, it would be more moderate and open. “Unfortunately they were disappointed in that.