By: V4 Agency
LGBT and women’s rights organisations in Austria and Germany have challenged a Vatican decree which states that Catholic clergy cannot bless same-sex unions.
Tensions have mounted further between the Church and LGBTQ organisations, as Pope Francis reiterated the doctrinal teaching which prevents the blessing of same-sex couples within the Catholic Church. In Germany and Austria, several priests and bishops have sided with women’s rights and LGBTQ groups, demanding that the ban be lifted, otherwise clergy will continue blessing same-sex unions despite the recent papal decree. Several Catholic women’s associations have also petitioned the Vatican to lift the ban on blessing gay and lesbian couples.
“The mission of the Church is to lead its followers in the world to salvation and it should therefore oppose homophobia by all means and work for gender equality to enable everyone to live a full and happy life,” reads the associations’ open letter published a few days ago.
The associations also called for the renewal of sexual morality described in the Catechism, reaffirming that the lives of same-sex couples, including sex, should be recognised and not punished because it is part of God’s creation and “as we cannot erase all differences and reduce humanity to a single scheme, church marriage cannot be the privilege of heterosexual couples alone.”
In response to the bishop’s questions, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith confirmed that the Church does not intend to change its position even in the slightest in matters of morality, and therefore the blessing of gay couples is, and has been, absolutely forbidden. However, bishops of the Catholic Church are not united on the issue, either. Some German bishops supported the document, while others criticised it, saying the Catholic Church should keep up with changing times.
The joint declaration of the women’s associations was signed by the German Catholic Women’s Association (KFD), the Association of German Catholic Women (KDFB), the Swiss Catholic Women’s Association, the Austrian Catholic Women’s Movement and the Alto Adige Catholic Women’s Movement. These organizations are the largest women’s groups in Italy, Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and have now come together to assert their position before the Vatican.