Catholic priests across Germany are blessing same-sex couples in defiance of a recent Vatican ban on the practice, the latest effort by liberal German Catholics to build a more progressive version of their church.
The blessings have been scheduled to be performed at about 100 churches and other venues in early May, many of them on Monday evening. German clergy have performed such blessings for years, but typically in private and not in churches.
“It’s time to be visible in the church,” said Holger Woltering, whose 2017 civil marriage with Lennart Woltering was blessed for the second time on Thursday in the town of Geldern in northwestern Germany. The ceremony was recorded for streaming on the internet. “It’s really, really time to change these rules,” he said.
The ceremonies were organized as a response to a statement in March by the Vatican’s doctrinal office, approved by Pope Francis, prohibiting blessings of gay relationships on the grounds that God “cannot bless sin.”
German Catholics saw that document as aimed particularly at them. Since last year, German bishops and laypeople have been holding a national synod that is considering a number of potential changes to Catholic life, including liberalized teaching on sexuality and the ordination of women.