Two months after the Vatican declared that it had no authority to bless same-sex couples, Catholic Parishes in Germany are gearing up to bless gay and lesbian couples.
Liebe Gewinnt- which translates as Love Wins, is a new campaign launched in Hamburg, Germany, which will see Catholic chaplains from parishes across Germany inviting people to “blessing services for lovers” from May 10. These new services by German parishes will also welcome people in same sex relationships.
The day was chosen by the church as it is the day the Orthodox Church commemorates the Biblical patriarch Noah when God made a covenant with him after the Flood under the sign of a rainbow.
The campaign aims to celebrate “the diversity of people’s different life plans and love stories” and to ask for God’s blessing. This comes after the Vatican in March 2021 came out against same-sex unions, decreeing that the Catholic Church cannot bless gay couples as God “cannot bless sin”.
On a number of occasions, Pope Francis has warned against threats to the institution of marriage and described marriage as “between a man and a woman.” On a number of other occasions, he has also claimed that accepting gay family members or accommodating same-sex partnerships in civil law, “does not mean approving of homosexual acts.”
Vatican Views On Same-Sex Relationships Criticised
However, in Germany, where same sex marriage has been legal since 2007, and where registered partnerships have been available to same-sex couples since 2001- the views of the Vatican have been widely criticized by many members of the German Catholic Church.
Father Burkhard Hose of Würzburg who worked to gather more than 11, 000 signatures against the Vatican’s ban on same sex marriage, told a local news outlet “I have blessed buildings and sugar-beet-harvesting machines. So why not also people who love each other?”
The vice-president of the Catholic German Women’s Federation Birgit Mock, added that “the current discussion could lead to a historic step: a positive appreciation of responsibly lived sexuality in the Catholic Church in Germany.”
Mock, is also one of the heads of one of four working groups of the Synodal Path reform project, which deals with sexual morality- the church’s approach to homosexuality is among its topics.
After being launched in Hamburg on May 10th, the blessings services are set to also be offered in more than 70 other locations across Germany.
Pell Against German Churches
However, as expected there is opposition coming from both inside and outside of the Church. The German Bishops’ Conference have criticised the blessing services. “They are not suitable as an instrument of church-political manifestations or protest actions,” said conference president, Bishop Georg Baetzing.
Recently the disgraced George Pell also spoke out against the direction being taken by the German Catholic Church warning that the situation of the Church in Germany appears “ominous” in an interview that aired on EWTN April 27.
Pell went on to add that he “thinks that there is a percentage of the German Church that seems to be resolutely heading in the wrong direction.”
“By that, I mean it is quite clear that a liberalized Christianity, whether it is a liberalized Catholicism or Protestantism, in a generation or so merges into agnosticism. … If you adopt the policies of the world and just go along so that they approve, nobody is going to be interested in that.”
“The duty of the German bishops is to uphold the teachings of Scripture, to uphold the teachings of the Church. We stand under those teachings. They’ve got no power to change them — none of us do.”
“What is important is what is in the Word of God, what is in the apostolic tradition. And I don’t think that when push comes to shove they’ll — and I cross my metaphors — cross the Rubicon.”