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Roman Catholicism firmly opposes same-sex marriage as unnatural, so even Germany’s creative theologians have little leeway there.
But the theology of giving a blessing to a gay couple is less clear, and two bishops have now spoken out in favor of considering some form of benediction as a way to adjust to the changing times.
German Chancellor and leader of the conservative Christian Democratic Union party Angela Merkel is pictured at the CDU party convention in Essen, Germany, on Dec. Photo by Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters Right after the law was passed, Marx expressed hope that the traditionally Catholic state of Bavaria, where Munich is the capital, would challenge it in Germany’s constitutional court.
Men with rainbow flags stand in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin at an event organized by the Social Democrats to celebrate the legalization of same-sex marriage in Germany on June 30, 2017.
(Michael Kappeler/dpa via AP; caption amended by RNS)(RNS) — Germany’s unexpected legalization of gay marriage last year has created a pastoral dilemma for the country’s Roman Catholic bishops, who campaigned against the “marriage for all” bill and now have to maintain that doctrinal stand while also showing respect for gay and lesbian parishioners.
Although most church officials still reject it, the idea of blessing gay couples has been under discussion long before Bode’s interview in the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung made national headlines.
“I know the issue is out there, not only in Osnabrück or in the (episcopal conference’s) Pastoral Commission, but across Germany,” said Holger Dörnemann, the new delegate for relations with gay people in the Cologne Archdiocese, the largest and richest in the country. (Bode) has only expressed what is actually under discussion in every diocese,” Dörnemann told the archdiocese’s radio station.
But she allowed a parliamentary vote on it under strong pressure from her Social Democratic coalition partners and the opposition parties.
In the end, Merkel cast her vote against legalization, but it passed with a comfortable majority.
But the issue is not likely to disappear and may come up again soon — when the bishops hold their next half-yearly meeting in the spring.
Legalization of same-sex marriage came as a surprise because Merkel, the daughter of a Lutheran pastor, had long opposed it.
” about gay people.“Even though ‘marriage for all’ clearly differs from the church’s understanding of marriage, it is now a political reality,” Bishop Franz-Josef Bode of Osnabrück, the deputy chairman of the German Bishops Conference, said earlier this month.“We have to ask ourselves how we should deal with people who tie this knot. So how are we going to accompany them with pastoral care and in the liturgy? “We could think about giving them a blessing.”After Bode spoke in an interview with his local newspaper, it emerged that another prelate, retiring Auxiliary Bishop Dieter Geerlings of Münster, had essentially said the same a month earlier in a lesser-known provincial daily.