The German Church has approved a text that opens the blessing of same sex unions, but the decision is creating tensions within the Catholic Church. Although the text, titled “Blessings for Couples Who Love Each Other,” was passed by a large majority, the Holy See immediately stopped the German bishops’ initiative.
The Holy See’s Secretary of State Peter Parolin said that the Catholic Church’s position on blessings for same-sex couples has already been clearly expressed through a document of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
As reported in this document, “blessings to individuals with homosexual inclinations, who manifest a willingness to live in fidelity to God’s revealed designs as proposed by Church teaching” are possible, but it remains “illicit to make any form of blessing that tends to recognize their unions“: it would mean “approving and encouraging a choice and practice of life that cannot be recognized as objectively ordered to God’s revealed designs.”
Parolin added, moreover, that a local Church cannot make a decision involving the discipline of the universal Church without a confrontation with Rome and the rest of the churches in the world.
The German Church’s decision is becoming, therefore, a kind of challenge for the Catholic Church as it tries to balance its traditional doctrine with the demands of an increasingly inclusive and diverse society. This shows that there are more and more believers who are trying to adapt traditional doctrine to the demands of modern society, in which equality and diversity are increasingly valued. The church should be a place of welcome and support for all, without excluding anyone on the basis of their gender identity or sexual orientation.
The German Church’s decision to approve the text for blessings for same-sex couples drew many reactions. LGBTQIA+ associations welcomed the news, calling it a step forward in the fight for inclusion and acceptance. However, there has also been criticism and opposition, in addition to the Vatican’s stop.
Some members of the Catholic Church, including Cardinal Rainer Woelki, have said that the German Church’s decision contradicts the doctrine of the Catholic Church.
Cardinal Rainer Woelki, in particular, criticized the decision-making process within the German Church, arguing that it was conducted too hastily and without adequate consideration of the theological and pastoral implications of the decision. According to Woelki, the German Church’s decision could cause divisions within the Church and call into question the unity of the Catholic Church.