German bishops, priests defy the Vatican and bless same-sex couples

Tue. May 11, 2021 8:34 AM by Gerald Farinas

In what is being called “open defiance” by LGBT advocates, Catholic priests in Germany have begun a coordinated effort to bless same-sex unions in their parishes.

Some bishops have signed off on the blessings—a rebellion against the Vatican.

“I like to give the priests freedom to decide themselves,” German bishop Franz-Josef Bode repeated comments he made with The Washington Post in 2019.

The blessings go against an order of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued on March 15, 2021.

Once led by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger—who later became Pope Benedict XVI—the Congregation is the department in charge of preserving Catholic doctrine and teachings since 1542.

“The Church does not have, and cannot have, the power to bless unions of persons of the same sex,” the decree said.

“Same-sex attraction is unnatural and disordered,” Pope Emeritus Benedict continues to teach in retirement, despite growing biological science that shows that same-sex attraction happens naturally in humans.

He has otherwise remained quiet on other issues.

Rev. James Martin, S.J., a renowned LGBT advocate inside the Catholic Church and now a communications specialist for the Pope, clarified that the decree is most likely a response to Germany.

“In the West, a few priests have done [same sex] blessings, sometimes at receptions after [a civil] union was legalized, or privately with the couple,” Father Martin explained in a statement received by

“Sometimes a Mass of Thanksgiving was celebrated for the couple and the couples' families after the civil union was performed.”

And now they're doubling down on what the German Church believes to be right—that same-sex couples deserve the blessing of God.

While Pope Francis has made comments in favor of respecting the dignity of LGBT Christians, the Vatican has each time walked back the pontiff's comments to match the Catechism—the official document of teachings of the Church.

Pope Francis said in an Italian documentary that he supports civil authorities to take care of same-sex civil unions, leaving the Church out of it. At the head of his pontificate, Pope Francis told reporters on a flight “Who am I to judge?” about a gay person.

Both times, Vatican officials backtracked the Pope's comments to conform to the Church's official stance that homosexuality is “intrinsically disordered” and not as God intended human beings.

Vatican insiders have signaled the Pope approved the decree after being pressured by officials to firm up a message that supports doctrine—as society moves ever further toward full LGBT equality.

In the U.S., Catholic bishops have partnered with the LGBT advocacy group Tyler Clementi Foundation—declaring “God is on your side.”

The highest ranking is Cardinal Joseph Tobin, the archbishop of Newark and Francis-appointee. He was joined by the archbishop of Santa Fe and bishops of Baltimore; Cheyenne, Wyo.; Detroit; Las Cruces, N.M.; Lexington, Ky.; Little Rock, Ark.; San Diego; and Tucson.

Since last reported the “God is on your side” declaration, the Jesuit religious order in the U.S. and Canada, and several convents of nuns, have openly sided with the LGBT community.

The declaration has been attacked by conservative members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops—like Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York—as going too far against the teachings of the Church.

While the Congregation bans same-sex blessings, it does say it is open to blessing individuals who identify as LGBT, as long as they have “the will to live in fidelity to the revealed plans of God as proposed by Church teaching.”

In other words, if one has sexual relations with another of the same-sex, forget about getting a blessing.

In the end, LGBT Catholics and their allies are expressing they either are angry at the Vatican—including Francis—and/or feel confused as to what they are to the Church. requested comment from the Archdiocese of Chicago and Archdiocese of Milwaukee—which has an openly gay priest in service as a pastor, Father Gregory Greiten of Our Lady of Good Hope parish.

They did not respond.