LGBT Couple
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The inclusivity of same-sex couples has been a long-running conflict within the catholic church. German Catholic bishops moved to embrace equality and push forward the inclusivity of same-sex couples by blessing them.

According to DW Made for Minds, a decision was made in Germany to allow blessings for same-sex couples in the Catholic Church. The decision was created as a part of the Synodal Path reform process, which started in 2019 and has been pushing for more progressive changes in the church, including an end to celibacy for priests and the ordination of women as deacons.

The German Bishops' Conference and the Central Committee of German Catholics recommended that liturgical celebrations be developed for these blessings and civilly remarried and divorced couples. The bishops will participate in developing the liturgical format of the ceremony over the next three years.

This move is seen as a significant step forward for LGBTQ+ rights in the Catholic Church, which has traditionally been more conservative in its views on same-sex relationships.

Defying the Vatican

On Friday, a resolution was passed by German bishops with 38 votes in favor, 9 against, and 11 abstentions to allow liturgies for the blessing of couples who are not eligible for the Catholic sacrament of matrimony. According to the Wall Street Journal, this includes same-sex couples and those remarried outside of the church after a divorce. The resolution calls for individual German bishops to adopt the practice in their respective dioceses.

This resolution opposes the Vatican's stance on the matter, expressed in a 2021 decree approved by Pope Francis. The decree prohibited the blessing of gay couples, stating that God "cannot bless sin." The resolution passed in Germany rejects this position.

Although Pope Francis has taken a conciliatory approach towards gay people and has endorsed civil unions for same-sex couples in a 2020 documentary film, he has not changed the church's teaching on homosexuality.

According to another source, despite the Vatican's stance that the church "cannot bless sin," the German Bishops believe that people who love deserve the blessing of God. In the Story in the Pink News, the bishops stated that the church excluded and devalued same-sex couples and remarried divorcees. Allowing blessings is an opportunity to acknowledge and appreciate the love and values in these relationships.

This move by Germany's bishops is seen as a direct challenge to the Vatican's ruling. Pope Francis has been more conciliatory towards homosexuality than his predecessors, saying that being gay is not a crime and that parents should accept their gay children. Still, he has also reiterated the church's view that homosexuality is a sin. The Church of England's decision to allow blessing ceremonies but not gay marriages in churches has been criticized by some gay Christian activists.

Also Read: Controversy in the Church of England: Gay Couples Denied Marriage But Offered "God's Blessing" In a New Move

This Move is Similar to The Church of England

The Church of England has voted to allow priests to bless same-sex marriages and civil partnerships but maintains its ban on church weddings for these couples. An article here in Christianity Daily says that the General Synod approved the measure after five years of discussions on the church's stance on sexuality and eight hours of debate.

The proposal offers a voluntary service of dedication, thanksgiving, or God's blessing for same-sex couples following a civil partnership or marriage while upholding the doctrine that marriage is between one man and one woman. The decision was accompanied by an apology for the church's failure to welcome LGBTQ individuals.

Related Article: Historic Move: Church of England Approves Blessings for Same-Sex Couples