Could the Family Synod next month give approval to church blessings for same – sex couples? Even the most optimistic Catholic might think that a stretch, but some Swiss theologians seem to think otherwise. We should remember though, that many Protestant churches in Europe and North America have already accepted either church blessings, or full equal marriage for all couples, or are considering these as serious options. In the Catholic Church, the largest lay organization in Germany has explicitly asked for approval for such church blessings – and the request was not rejected out of hand by the senior cardinal.
Even if it is unlikely to happen at the synod, it is worth noting that there is serious thought being given to it, and to the specific arguments being advanced. (Recall that just a few years ago, Cardinal Schonborn of Vienna hit the news for saying, almost as an aside, that it was time for the Church to move away from obsessing over homosexual genital acts, and focus instead on the quality of the relationships. That sentiment has now become almost commonplace among notable bishops and theologians, and underlies the points made in this article.
If it does not happen just yet, it is surely the shape of things to come.
Read in the original French at Cath.ch , or read my very free translation below:
Same-sex couples: towards a blessing? – cath.ch
A clear answer about same-sex couples is expected from the next Synod on the family
Lausanne, 16 March 2015.
The next Synod on the Family could pave the way for the possible blessing of homosexual couples by the Catholic Church. For now, its conception is in the form of an unfinished home: it accepts homosexuals but rejects their sexuality. A situation that could change.
People with homosexual tendencies “must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity”, says the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992), adding that homosexual acts are “serious depravity” and “intrinsically disordered” (Nos. 2357 and 2358). “Basically, this says to homosexuals ‘we love you, but what you do is a sin”, says theologian and canonist Nicolas Betticher . For some, this approach needs to be refined if we are to avoid a kind of schizophrenic identity in those affected, between real welcome of the Church to which they legitimately aspire and the condemnation of acts resulting from sexual orientation, sometimes determined.
Marriage will not change
The “solution” will not be sought in a revolution of the Catholic understanding of marriage. “Impossible,” according to Father Benoît-Dominique of the Soujeole, professor of dogmatic theology at the University of Fribourg. “Marriage is the union of a man and a woman founded as being the image of the union of Christ and the Church.” Sexual otherness remains the sine qua non, since in God’s intention, the union of minds and bodies is to “participate in its creative design, calling to life of new beings.” “From a dogmatic point of view, homosexuality remains a behavior different from that resulting from this divine intention,” according to the Dominican priest.
Therefore, what to offer couples whose sexual orientation differs from this model? “Either we tell them: ‘Your life is nothing’, which would be cruel and disrespectful, or we accept that these people are also looking for human fulfillment, even if they do not go where we want, “said Thierry Collaud, professor of moral theology at the University of Fribourg. “By stigmatizing their condition, we prevent any development. Everything would then be fixed for them. “An unacceptable point of view for the ethicist who advocates a morality of growth, where the human is in constant dynamism. “The Christian community should accompany their path, recognizing that God is at their side”