In an act of defiance against the conservative stance of Cologne’s archbishop Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, several priests gathered outside Cologne Cathedral for a ceremony blessing same-sex couples.
The protest was sparked by criticism in March directed at a priest from Mettmann, a town near Duesseldorf. He had conducted a “blessing ceremony for lovers,” including same-sex couples.
According to the German news agency dpa, the Cologne archdiocese to which Mettmann belongs had reprimanded the priest and emphasised that the Vatican does not permit blessings for same-sex couples.
However the priests blessing same-sex couples on this occasion marked the latest display of a progressive movement within Germany’s largest diocese, with approximately 1.8 million members.
Several hundred people gathered for the outdoor blessing service, showing their support for both same-sex and heterosexual couples.
Waving rainbow flags and singing the iconic Beatles hit “All You Need Is Love,” approximately 30 couples received blessings.
Light years behind social reality
Germany’s LGBTQ+ commissioner, Sven Lehmann, commended the event as a symbol of the ongoing demand for recognition and acceptance of same-sex couples within the Roman Catholic Church.
“It is mainly thanks to the church’s grassroots that the church is opening up more and more,” Lehmann said. “Archbishop Woelki and the Vatican, on the other hand, are light years behind social reality.”
The Cologne archdiocese has been experiencing a crisis of confidence for some time, with many Catholic believers protesting against Archbishop Woelki.
Allegations of covering up clergy sexual abuse reports have driven many to leave the church.
The crisis erupted in 2020 when Woelki, citing legal concerns, withheld a report he had commissioned regarding how local church officials responded to accusations of sexual abuse by priests.
A subsequent report in March 2021 uncovered 75 cases of high-ranking officials neglecting their duties.
This event in Cologne is just one instance of the ongoing tension between progressive German Catholics and the Vatican.
The German Catholic Church initiated a reform process in response to clergy sexual abuse scandals. Still, the Vatican has sought to restrain this reform, particularly concerning issues related to the LGBTQ+ community, women and sexual morals.
While believers celebrated the blessings of same-sex couples, a group of about a dozen Catholics nearby demonstrated against the outdoor service, holding a banner that read, “Let’s stay Catholic.”
News category: World.
https://cathnews.co.nz/2023/09/25/same-sex-couples/ German priests bless same-sex couples, defying archbishop