Cardinal Reinhard Marx, President of the German Bishops’ Conference, has “rebuked” the country’s largest lay group, the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK), for its call for a change in Church teaching.
It will be no surprise that the call has been criticized by the German bishops. In addition to greater acceptance of divorced and remarried Catholics, the position paper calls for Church blessings for same – sex couples. What is notable, is that the call was made in the first place, that Cardinal Marx’s rebuke includes the conciliatory statement that ““necessary theological debate” and dialogue on both subjects would be helpful”, and that Marx praised the ZdK’s position paper for its many “theological and socially significant statements on the family”.
When the Family Synod was first announced and ever since, the Vatican and others have insisted that the intention was to debate and refine pastoral practice – not to change or even discuss doctrine. It’s becoming clearer than ever though, that there is a growing awareness that the need for doctrinal change will have to be seriously addresses, whether at the synod, or later. Cardinal Marx’s acknowledgement that theological dialogue with lay people is an impressive example of that.
Two years after France legalized gay marriage, church blessings for same – sex couples have been approved by the main Protestant Church (formed after a 2012-2013 merger of the Reformed Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church).
The headline in the RT report quoted below is a little misleading. The church has not voted to “bless” or conduct gay marriages, but will permit pastors to conduct blessing services for same – sex couples. The scale of the support for this decision is notable – 94 votes for, just 6 against.
France’s Main Protestant Church Gives Blessing to Gay Marriages
France’s largest Protestant Church, the fourth-largest religious group in the country, has voted for its pastors to give their blessing to homosexual couples. The move comes two years after Paris legalized same-sex marriages.
“The synod has decided to take a step forward in accompanying people and these couples by opening the possibility of celebrating liturgical blessings if they want,” said Laurent Schlumberger, president of the Church.
The decision was supported by 94 delegates out of 100. Only three voted against blessing homosexual couples. However, the vicars who oppose the practice won’t be forced to perform it.
In a remarkable document published by the Swiss Bishops Conference, it is noted that in Switzerland, there is strong support for the recognition of same – sex relationships, including blessings of such partnerships.
Following a comprehensive national consultation with the nation’s Catholics, in which more than 6000 people participated, the Swiss Catholic bishops have reported that Swiss Catholics want to see blessings for same – sex partnerships, and also a change in the teaching on communion for divorced and remarried people.