Germany, 10 May: the schism begins with gay unions
Already 2,500 German parish priests and deacons have signed up for the day of the blessing of all lovers, including homosexual couples. And some bishops have already made known that do not intend to impose any sanctions on the "rebel" priests. This is the gauntlet that the German Church has thrown down to Rome after its "No" to the blessing of gay unions.
Teutonic "Catholics" have been upset, in no small measure, by the position taken by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith against the blessing of homosexual couples. A simple Roman congregation dared to obstruct the Synodal Way of the church that holds the Geist: outrageous!
And so, without further ado, the now clearly schismatic opposition has taken remedial action, organising a day of blessing for all lovers on 10 May, specifically including homosexual couples, the main object of contention. Obviously, it is organised in German style: a website has been created with the "highly original" title #liebegewinnt (love wins), through which it is possible to register as individuals and as parishes. There is also a Google map, with flags identifying the places where the blessing celebrations will be held: helpful for the seven angels of the bowls of God’s wrath to locate their targets...
After the critical remarks on the Congregation's Responsum by Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the president of the German Bishops' Conference, Monsignor Georg Bätzing, the Bishop of Osnabrück, Monsignor Franz-Josef Bode, and the auxiliary bishop of Münster, Monsignor Dieter Geerlings, now move on to action. And they do so with a clearly polemical intent: "In view of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's refusal to bless same-sex couples, we raise our voices and say: we will also accompany couples in the future who are in a stable relationship and bless their relationship. We will not deny them a blessing ceremony" (see here). The emphasis on the blessing of the relationship is therefore an explicit rejection of the main thrust of the Responsum of 22 February, which stated precisely that the problem of such blessings lies not in individuals, but in "relationships or [...] partnerships, even stable ones, that involve a sexual practice outside of marriage (that is, outside the indissoluble union of a man and a woman open as such to the transmission of life), as is the case with unions between persons of the same sex".
In concrete terms, the initiative on 10 May is an invitation "to use numerous creative signs to show how many people in the church perceive the colourful diversity of people's different life plans and love stories as an enrichment and a blessing", by organising "a service of blessing in many places, preferably at the same time, 7 p.m. Couples taking part in this ceremony must receive the blessing that God wants to give them, without hiding away".
Already, some 2,500 parish priests, deacons and pastoral workers have joined the initiative and made themselves available to dish out fragrant blessings, because, after all, love is love... This is in fact the level of "rationale" of the promoters of the local initiatives. In Schweinfurt, a #segentogo, a "take-away blessing" is being launched, offered "to you and your partner, no matter whom you love, how long you've been together, whether things are going great at the moment or you're going through a difficult phase". The invitation of the parish of Winnweiler is also in the spirit of inclusiveness, inviting everyone, "regardless of whether you are married or not, whether you are young or old, whether you are heterosexual or homosexual, as long as you love each other and desire the Lord's help for your relationship". Ask and it will be given to you!
In Würzburg they are keen to include a must of political correctness, overlooked by the forgetful confreres, emphasising that not even "skin colour" will be a discriminating factor. The charity of the organisers in Paderborn is boundless, since they offer to meet any setbacks, promising that even individuals whose partner cannot be present will be blessed.
The invitation from the parish of Jülich/Krefeld/Mönchengladbach, on the other hand, is addressed, goodness knows why, to all students, "regardless of whether you are a couple or single, whether you are in love or looking for love". In Hanover, too, "love is love", albeit in the age of the pandemic. And so meeting and blessing will take place on Zoom. In Geldern-Veert, video footage will be provided during the blessing and, after the ceremony, the eye of the camera will capture the kiss of each couple, ad perpetuam rei memoriam. On the other hand, the organisers of Neunkirchen/Saar, who are actually making two churches available, are sending out a message of liquidation of Church mediation: "We do not want to judge whether the Church can or cannot [bless homosexual unions]; as theologians, we know that God can".
In the meantime, the bishop of Essen, Msgr Franz-Josef Overbeck, has already made it known (see here) that he and other bishops do not intend to impose any sanctions on the priests who, on this occasion, will impart blessings to the various couples present. Because for them, dialogue with Rome goes like this: either you write what we want, or we go our own way. A position which, from a canonical point of view, is called schism. Rome has been warned: the decisions on homosexuality, female priesthood, and contraception are made by the Synodale Weg.