Catholic priests in Germany are protesting the Vatican’s ordinance on blessing gay couples.
According to CBS News, dozens of priests have announced plans to bless gay couples and perform several other church services on May 10. Many of these services, which are happening across Germany, will be live-streamed online.
“In view of the refusal of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to bless homosexual partnerships, we raise our voices and say: We will continue to accompany people who enter into a binding partnership in the future and bless their relationship,” the group said in a statement.
In Germany, Catholic blessings for same-sex couples had been becoming a common occurrence. That said, the fact that100 Catholic churches will participate in this protest and almost 20 events will be live-streamed is exciting news.
“It always has been a little bit kind of a secret,” said the Rev. Christian Olding, who admits to blessing about 10 same-sex couples in the past eight years, to the Wall Street Journal. “This is the first time that we are going this way in society, to do it visibly for everyone.”
These services are in protest to the Catholic Church’s Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith. The office is in charge of orthodoxy issues. The office issued a two-page statement decree, after being approved by Pope Francis, that stated gay couples could not be blessed by Catholic priests.
“It is necessary that what is blessed be objectively and positively ordered to receive and express grace, according to the designs of God inscribed in creation,” the decree reads.
It then added, “It is not licit to impart a blessing on relationships, or partnerships, even stable, that involve sexual activity outside of marriage, as is the case of the unions between persons of the same sex. The presence in such relationships of positive elements, which are in themselves to be valued and appreciated, cannot justify these relationships and render them legitimate objects of an ecclesial blessing, since the positive elements exist within the context of a union not ordered to the Creator’s plan.”
That decree has garnered a lot of criticism and been the catalyst for several protests. In March, an Italian priest named Father Giuliu Mignani told his congregation that he would not be giving blessings before Easter in protest of the Vatican’s decree.
“If I can’t bless couples formed by persons of the same sex, then I won’t bless palms or olive branches either,” Father Mignani told the crowd on March 28.
230 professors of Catholic theology in Germany also signed a statement protesting the decision in March.
“We distance ourselves firmly from this position,” the statement read, according to the Associated Press. “We believe that the life and love of same-sex couples are not worth less before God than the life and love of any other couple.”
In addition, several Hollywood entertainers expressed their frustrations with the Catholic Church.
“Can’t a nice gay gentleman like myself just be able to sit here and enjoy Glenn Close’s EIGHTH Oscar nomination without having to see this shit?” Billy Eichner wrote on Twitter before adding, “On a serious note, to everyone who goes out of their way to talk about how “cool” this pope is…NO. The Catholic Church has abused the LGBTQ community for MILLENIA. So, go to church if you need to I guess but THAT’s what you’re enabling. Bye!”
“How can the Vatican refuse to bless gay marriages because they ‘are sin’, yet happily make a profit from investing millions in ‘Rocketman’ – a film which celebrates my finding happiness from my marriage to David?? #hypocrisy,” wrote Elton John, who is married to David Furnish, on Instagram.
The Vatican’s Secretariat of State department funded the Centurion Global Fund in Malta. That fund then gave $1.2 million to Rocketman.
It seems the Vatican has made many enemies with its decree rejecting blessings to same-sex couples. And some of those enemies are within their very own ranks. But will the Vatican listen to these protests or will there be more of the same?