BERLIN (ChurchMilitant.com) - Germany's Synodal Way will vote for same-sex blessings to be officially legitimized in the Catholic Church, Irme Stetter-Karp, president of the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK), said Tuesday.
A two-thirds majority of the bishops must vote for the bill to become legal, putting the German Church on a collision course with Rome. The ZdK is co-organizing the Synodal Way with the German Bishops' Conference.
Eighty German churches are offering "gay blessings" this week, defying the Vatican's recent decree that categorically rules out rites for same-sex couples as "illicit" and "unlawful."
This is the second time such services are being held all over Germany after the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) issued a responsum ad dubium (reply to a doubt) in March 2021 stating: "God does not and cannot bless sin."
The Vatican continues to remain silent over the rebellion involving hundreds of priests who are openly advertising the unlawful services on church websites and on the website of the pro-LGBTQ+ #lovewins (#liebegewinnt) movement — set up specifically in view of the CDF's refusal to bless homosexual couples.
"We will continue to accompany people who enter into a binding partnership and bless their relationship," #lovewins states. As pastoral workers, it adds, "we do not accept that an excluding and outdated sexual morality is laid on the backs of people."
While most German prelates favor blessings for homosexual partnerships, for the first time a bishop has endorsed such a rite by his presence, with Essen's auxiliary bishop, Ludger Schepers, attending as a guest an ecumenical service of blessing.
The Cathedral of St. Sebastian, the episcopal church of Bp. Gerhard Feige of the diocese of Magdeburg, also hosted blessing ceremonies Tuesday evening.
Some of the 80 parishes conducting same-sex blessings include the church of St. Maria Magdalena in Bochum-Höntrop, which will offer an "ecumenical blessing celebration via Zoom" on Sunday with readings from the Song of Solomon and testimonies from a homosexual and lesbian couple.
"Would you like to be personally blessed with your partner?" the website asks. "When registering, you can indicate whether you would like to be personally blessed with your partner or family. This is done by a pastor in an individual, protected space, a so-called breakout room."
Homosexuals "should know that they are supported by God's love, safe under the rainbow that tells of his covenant with people," reads another invitation for gay blessings from St. Amandus Church, Datteln.
The parish of St. Augustine, Gelsenkirchen, advertises gay activist and laywoman Manuela Sabozin as the preacher during the service. "After the service, we will give lovers a personal blessing if they wish," the invitation reads.
"At the end of the Mass, all people — whether alone, in pairs or in groups, whether heterosexual, homosexual or otherwise queer — are invited to receive a personal blessing," announces the website of the Holy Cross Church, Osnabrück.
Irme Stetter-Karp, president of the ZdK, called for same-sex blessing services to become "a matter of course as soon as possible" in the Catholic Church.
"I cannot foresee the decision, but I hope that blessing ceremonies will receive a positive vote from the large majority of German bishops," remarked Stetter-Karp.
The Synod proposal for the rites of blessing gay couples has already been accepted at the first reading of the assembly. Changes are currently being incorporated into the draft text, before the second reading.
Synodal Way members voted in February to introduce blessing ceremonies for couples "who want to love and bond, but for whom sacramental marriage is not accessible or which they do not want to enter into."
A refusal to "bless two people who want to live their partnership in love, commitment and responsibility to one another and to God" cannot be "convincingly justified in terms of the theology of grace," the draft resolution stated.
Meanwhile, Rainer Teuber, museum educator at Essen Cathedral and member of the #OutInChurch and #lovewins initiatives, is urging the progressive dioceses of Hamburg, Hildesheim, Essen and Osnabrück to introduce the rites immediately without waiting for the result of the synod's final vote.
"If eight or nine bishops from Germany go ahead, I don't think the authorities in Rome will fire everyone," Teuber said.
Asked why the Vatican was refusing to discipline errant priests who were conducting same-sex blessings, Münster-based moral theologian Prof. Rudolf Hein said the CDF would "keep quiet about it at least until the next synod of bishops."
"I can't imagine a quick, simple and clear solution," Hein added, stressing the battle lines had already been drawn and the Vatican would have to tread carefully "not so much because of theology but because of different positions from different parts of the Universal Church."
Meanwhile, prominent Catholic journalist Felix Neumann is accusing Pope Francis of "gaslighting" homosexuals by telling LGBTQ people that the discrimination and hurt they perceive from the Church does not exist.
Gaslighting is a form of psychological violence in which perpetrators question their victims' perception of reality, thereby undermining their sense of reality and their self-confidence.
Francis is affirming gays while failing to acknowledge that Church teaching on homosexuality "is in itself offensive" because it regards homosexual acts as "intrinsically disordered" and "contrary to natural law," Neumann claimed.
Last year, a total of 110 services of same-sex blessings were held in German churches in defiance of the Vatican decree.
In January, over 125 priests, nuns, religious, catechists, administrators, church musicians, religion teachers, pastoral workers and medics staged a doctrinal insurgency under the banner #OutInChurch, Church Militant reported.
Demanding blessings for same-sex couples, #OutInChurch demanded "a correction of misanthropic doctrinal statements," in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which pronounces homosexual activity to be "objectively disordered" and thus, according to the CDF, "cannot be recognized as objectively ordered to the revealed plans of God."