Synodal Path Calls for Blessing Ceremonies for Same-Sex Couples

In the Catholic Church in Germany there could soon be official blessing ceremonies for homosexual couples. The plenary assembly of the Synodal Path reform project on Saturday in Frankfurt approved a corresponding paper with a clear majority in the first reading. The German Catholics are thus disregarding the Vatican’s no to such blessing celebrations, which the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had confirmed in March of last year. In addition, the General Assembly also passed a text in the first reading in which Pope Francis is called upon to “clarify and reassess homosexuality from a teaching point of view”.

The refusal to bless two people who want to live their partnership in love, commitment and responsibility to one another and to God is “merciless or even discriminatory” in a society that has achieved human dignity and free self-determination as a maxim of moral standardization, it says in the text on blessing celebrations. Such a refusal cannot be convincingly justified theologically.

According to the will of the synodal path, homosexual acts should no longer be condemned as a serious sin in the catechism. Homosexual orientation is part of human identity “as created by God” and is therefore “ethically not to be judged differently from any other sexual orientation”.

Resolutions only become valid after the approval of the bishops

Pastors who bless homosexual couples should no longer have to face disciplinary consequences. The German dioceses are requested to draw up a form of blessing that defines the course of such celebrations. Similarities with a church marriage should be avoided.

However, the resolutions of the General Assembly of the Synodal Path only become binding if, after the second reading, they are not only approved by a two-thirds majority of the General Assembly, but also by a two-thirds majority of the bishops. All of the more than 60 German bishops are represented in the plenary assembly, which has a total of 230 members; the members were nominated equally by the Bishops’ Conference and the Central Committee of German Catholics.

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