— Roman Catholic bishops strongly disagree: Should the Church bless homosexual couples on their wedding or not? The official doctrine says no, but some bishops seem to ignore this altogether.
Now, they organise a mass blessing in protest against Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, who had criticised the blessing of same-sex couples. In protest, the diocese of Cologne organised a blessing service for heterosexual as well as homosexual couples last Sunday. In total, 130 people participated, Die Tagespost writes. In total, 25 couples received the blessing, among whom were two homosexual couples and several remarried divorcees. Remarriage after a divorce is also forbidden in the Roman Catholic Church.
The dispute started in March when pastor Herbert Ullmann of the parishes of Mettman and Wülfrath celebrated a blessing service “for all loving couples.” In response, he was reprimanded by Cardinal Woelki. Woelki pointed out that such celebrations were not to take place until the stance of the universal Church would be clarified on the matter. This is not yet the case. Ullmann was forbidden to organise such a celebration again.
However, Woelki’s statements led to much critique in Germany. The organisation behind the Cologne Carnaval responded that it found it strange that the Roman Catholic clergy are allowed to bless “barrels Kölsch (beer, ed.) and floats, but not people who love each other.”
The German Synodal Way decided in March to develop liturgies for blessing ceremonies for homosexual couples, remarried couples and divorcees. In total, 81 per cent of the bishops were in favour of this motion.
Ullmann did not partake in the protest blessing service last Sunday, Die Tagespost reports. Instead, he was present at the reception that took place afterwards.
On September 20, another protest blessing is planned, the Dutch daily Reformatorisch Dagblad writes. This is the same day as the day on which Woelki was installed as Archbishop in 2014.
Since that time, Woelki has been the centre of controversy for the way he dealt with sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church. In 2022, he offered his resignation to the Pope, but Francis has not yet ratified it.
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