German Catholic group calls on bishops to unite with Rome

The hand of the statue of St. Peter in St. Peter’s Square, pictured Feb. 28, 2013. The hand of the statue of St. Peter in St. Peter’s Square, pictured Feb. 28, 2013. | Mazur/

A German Catholic group appealed Saturday to the country’s bishops to unite with Rome amid a day of protest at the Vatican’s “no” to same-sex blessings.

The initiative “Maria 1.0” called on the bishops to stop the blessing celebrations for same-sex partnerships planned by some priests for May 10.

In a May 8 statement, Clara Steinbrecher, leader of the group, said: “The planned blessing celebrations are a targeted provocation in the direction of Pope Francis and should therefore be omitted by the priests.”

CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner, said that she urged priests and bishops to “accompany people in all life situations pastorally and compassionately” while preserving unity with Rome.

Maria 1.0 is inviting “all Catholics and people of goodwill” to say a decade of the rosary on May 10, thus expressing their bond with the Virgin Mary and the whole Church.

“We call on people to ask the Blessed Mother Mary to intercede with Jesus Christ so that he may keep the bishops and priests in unity with the pope and the whole Church,” Steinbrecher said.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) published a “Responsum ad dubium” March 15 replying to the question, “does the Church have the power to give the blessing to unions of persons of the same sex?” The CDF answered, “Negative,” outlining its reasoning in an explanatory note and accompanying commentary.

The Vatican statement, issued with the approval of Pope Francis, sparked protests in the German-speaking Catholic world. Several bishops expressed support for blessings of same-sex couples, while churches displayed LGBT pride flags, and a group of more than 200 theology professors signed a statement criticizing the Vatican.

Catholic pastoral workers in Germany are holding a day of protest on Monday against the Vatican’s recent “no” to blessings for same-sex couples.

The event, organized by Catholic pastoral workers, is known as “Segnungsgottesdiensten für Liebende,” or “blessing services for lovers.” Organizers hope that same-sex couples across Germany will take part in the event.

Maria 1.0 was launched in 2019 in response to the formation of a group calling itself “Maria 2.0” that campaigns for women priests and has organized “church strikes.”

Steinbrecher expressed concern about the planned day of blessings.

“Such targeted provocations unsettle believers and force them to be loyal either to the local bishop, who may approve these blessings, or to the pope. This should not be the case,” she said.

“Actually, all priests should be faithful to the Magisterium of the Church. After all, they promised it when they were consecrated.”

She added that, amid the “heated reporting on the handling of homosexual partnerships within the Catholic Church,” an essential point is neglected: that homosexual people can receive a blessing, but their partnerships cannot.

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