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BERLIN (ChurchMilitant.com) - German Catholics, including clergy, are publicly defying the Vatican's ban on blessing same-sex unions.
Over 2,600 German priests joined in protest Monday under the hashtag "#LiebeGewinnt" ("love wins" in German). There were demonstrations in more than 80 cities devoted to performing heretical blessings on homosexual partners, disobeying March 15 orders from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) telling clerics they "cannot bless sin."
One Würzburg pastor, Burkard Hose, outright admitted he didn't respect the authority of the CDF.
"The Church does not have the authority to withhold blessings," he argued. "Where people love each other, there has long been a blessing."
But not everyone was happy about the planned protests. A German lay initiative, Maria 1.0, called on bishops to speak up against this overt rejection of Church teaching.
"The planned blessings are a targeted provocation in the direction of Pope Francis and should therefore be avoided by the priests," asserted Clara Steinbrecher, head of the lay group, in a Saturday statement.
That same day, another lay organization called the Pontifex initiative released its own statement in defense of the CDF's instructions.
The statements of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith reflect the teaching of the Church. To reject this teaching, however, endangers unity and catholicity. This unity with the Holy Father has been a guarantee of the faith and the continued existence of the Catholic Church for 2,000 years.
The bishops, however, are unlikely to answer this call to action.
Despite admitting last week these blessing ceremonies were not a "helpful sign and a further path," German bishops' president Georg Bätzing of Limburg doesn't agree with the Vatican.
Last month, Bätzing remarked that he sees a change coming on so-called homosexual blessings, departing from the CDF's conclusion.
"They [people in homosexual partnerships] want the Church to hold their life in such value that they are given the blessing of God and not denied it. We must face up to this wish," he claimed.
Last June, Helmut Dieser, bishop of Aachen, urged the Catholic Church to modernize its teachings on sexuality: "We cannot solve it by just saying that everything the Church has said so far is enough to answer the new questions."
So far, only a handful of German bishops backed the CDF statement. They include:
Other prelates remained silent or issued some form of criticism.
Due to the bishops' permissiveness and support for these blessings, Catholics fear schism within the German Church is on the horizon. This is why some are begging the pope and Vatican officials to take decisive action against these dissident German clerics.
The faithful have asked for clarity, as opposed to wondering if Vatican leadership will refuse to act when faced with open disobedience to the magisterial authority of the Church.