Catholic Church sex abuse scandal

— Why weren’t newly accused priests on Bay Area bishops’ disclosure lists?

Joey Piscitelli, a member of Northern California SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, middle, speaks outside of St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022.

By John Woolfolk

When Bay Area bishops a few years ago released lists of their clergy found credibly accused of sexually abusing children, they called it a commitment to confronting past failings, a move toward accountability for a colossal scandal that has scarred the Catholic Church for decades.

But the Rev. Elwood Geary’s name wasn’t on any list. Neither was the Rev. Robert Gemmet’s.

The pair of now-deceased priests, who ministered in the South Bay a half-century ago, are now accused of horrific acts in separate lawsuits made possible under a state law that opened a three-year window for abuse claims long after the statute of limitations for such crimes expired. Geary and Gemmet are just two of at least 14 clergy in Northern California – 10 in the Bay Area – who this past week were linked for the first time to the church abuse scandal.

Why they weren’t named before, abuse victims and their advocates say, stems from a shell game church leaders have played with disgraced priests. Dioceses in San Jose, Oakland and Santa Rosa — which Friday announced plans to file for bankruptcy over abuse claims — have identified their own abusive clergy. But their lists may omit offenders from back when those parishes were under the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

And San Francisco still hasn’t released its own list of tarnished priests. Instead, the archdiocese there, headed by the controversial Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, lists only clergy in “good standing.”

“The purpose of these lists is in part to be as transparent as possible in outreach to survivors of those priests,” said Dan McNevin, who received a settlement for abuse by a Fremont priest when he was an altar boy and now is a leader of SNAP, the Survivor Network of those Abused by Priests. “In all of this, there is a deeply disappointing lack of empathy toward survivors and a horrendous lack of accountability.”

The San Francisco Archdiocese, which currently oversees parishes in San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo counties, had said when other Bay Area bishops released their accused clergy lists that it hadn’t made a decision about doing so. But it ultimately decided to do the opposite, creating a list of current priests and deacons “who have faculties to minister here in the Archdiocese.”

“Those with questions about a priest or deacon can refer to this list,” the Archdiocese said in a statement. “The Archdiocese addresses allegations related to lawsuits through appropriate legal channels.”

It added that “any priest under investigation is prohibited from exercising public ministry in accordance with canon law” as well as policies of the Archdiocese and United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

SNAP in September called out Archbishop Cordileone for not releasing a list of credibly accused priests in the Archdiocese, which most U.S. Catholic dioceses and institutions have done, it said. SNAP said its research identified 312 accused priests with ties to the Archdiocese, 229 of whom ministered within its current bounds, and that they believe there are others still unknown.

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone is seen inside Old St. Mary's Church following mass in Nicasio, Calif. on Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017. The Archbishop was meeting with parishioners to celebrate the150th Anniversary of Old St. Mary's Church. (Sherry LaVars/Special to Marin Independent Journal)
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone is seen inside Old St. Mary’s Church following mass in Nicasio, Calif. on Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017. The Archbishop was meeting with parishioners to celebrate the150th Anniversary of Old St. Mary’s Church.

San Francisco’s and San Jose’s opposite approaches partly explain why Geary and Gemmet had yet to be exposed. The two were linked to South Bay churches that were under the Archdiocese of San Francisco years before the Diocese of San Jose was established in 1981.

Church officials say that timing is why the pair weren’t among San Jose’s updated 2018 list of more than 80 clergy found credibly accused of sexually abusing children.

Cynthia Shaw, spokeswoman for the Diocese of San Jose, said Geary was the founding pastor of Queen of Apostles Parish in San Jose from 1960-1979, and Gemmet ministered at St. Christopher in San Jose and St. Mary in Gilroy in the 1960s and 1970s.

Because both priests “stayed with the Archdiocese when the Diocese of San Jose was formed, the Diocese of San Jose has no personnel files for those men,” Shaw said.

Shaw said that the Diocese of San Jose “stands in solidarity” with abuse victims, offering support to them and their families. It hopes those who have come forward “can begin a process of healing.”

“Every accusation of sexual abuse is significant,” Shaw said, “and one instance of abuse is one too many.”

The Diocese of San Jose said it lists as credible allegations those that are confirmed by the clerics, their religious order or diocese or civil authorities. It also lists those deemed credible by its Independent Review Board and Sensitive Incident Team based on “pertinent and affirming details that would support an allegation against a diocesan clergy within plausible and reasonable means.” The diocese said it “will apply the same methodology to new cases upon their determination.”

The Catholic Church in the U.S. has made significant progress confronting the priest sex abuse scandal that surfaced through lawsuits, police investigations and news reports from the 1980s to early 2000s, adopting a zero-tolerance policy toward abusers known as the Dallas Charter two decades ago.

But it has been dogged for years by criticism from abuse victims that it hasn’t been fully forthcoming. Victim advocates said they were already aware of eleven of the 14 priests named in recent lawsuits, even though the church had not acknowledged them.

McNevin said the San Jose diocese is “hairsplitting when it leaves out names because of an excuse like ‘it was San Francisco then.’”

“This is a classic shuffle,” McNevin said.

A public records database indicates Geary died at age 63 in 1981 in Alameda. In one of the lawsuits, filed in December 2020, a 65-year-old man alleges Geary sexually assaulted him in 1968 when he was 11 years old and a parishioner at Our Lady Queen of Apostles Church in San Jose. The suit accused Geary of “repeatedly touching and fondling” the boy’s “genitals and forcibly performing oral sex on the child.”

According to the San Mateo Times, Gemmet was ordained in 1964 and appointed to St. Timothy Catholic Church in San Mateo. While in the seminary in Menlo Park, he worked with children at day camps in San Francisco and Redwood City and before that taught catechism to kids at St. Simon parish in Los Altos. A public records database indicated he died at age 46 in 1985.

A March 2020 lawsuit brought by another 65-year-old alleges Gemmet began “grooming” him for sexual abuse when he was a 10-year-old altar boy in 1967 at St. Christopher, leading him to believe that the “training process necessarily involved being repeatedly inappropriately sexually touched and violated.” The lawsuit alleged Gemmet threatened that “God would kill” the boy and that he “would have to watch his parents and siblings die, if he told anyone about Gemmet’s inappropriate sexual touching.”

Jeff Anderson points out photos of San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, from left, Oakland Bishop Michael Barber and San Jose Bishop Patrick McGrath during a press conference by Jeff Anderson & Associates law firm in San Francisco, Calif., on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018. The law firm is suing the California Catholic of Bishops and published a report naming 263 priests in the San Jose, Oakland and San Francisco dioceses accused of sexual misconduct involving kids. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)
Jeff Anderson points out photos of San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, from left, Oakland Bishop Michael Barber and San Jose Bishop Patrick McGrath during a press conference by Jeff Anderson & Associates law firm in San Francisco, Calif., on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018. The law firm is suing the California Catholic of Bishops and published a report naming 263 priests in the San Jose, Oakland and San Francisco dioceses accused of sexual misconduct involving kids.

The Diocese of Oakland, established in 1962 and including parishes in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, said it needs time to research allegations against the priests and religious sister newly linked to abuse claims within its bounds. They include John Francis Scanlon in Oakland, Domingos S. Jacques in San Pablo, Benedict Reams in Moraga and Sister M. Rosella McConnell in Berkeley. They were not among the more than 60 clergy the diocese identified as credibly accused in February 2019.

California’s AB 218 law opened a three-year window from 2020 to 2022 during which adults who say they were abused long ago as children are allowed to sue. Attorneys had predicted it would generate thousands of lawsuits against institutions including the Boy Scouts and Catholic Church.

Separately, the California Attorney General has been investigating the handling of priest abuse by the state’s Catholic dioceses, similar to a Pennsylvania attorney general probe that led to devastating 2018 grand jury findings of widespread abuse and coverups. What that may reveal is still unclear.

But Jennifer Stein, a lawyer with Jeff Anderson and Associates, a law firm handling many AB 218 cases, said the Archdiocese of San Francisco’s decision to list only priests in good standing “seems to be an intentional effort to hide knowledge of offenders.”

San Francisco’s Cordileone said in a 2018 letter to parishioners that he had hired outside consultants to review personnel files of some 4,000 clergy dating to 1950, exploring allegations received and how they were handled. He said that would take time but he would report results to the Archdiocese. So far, no report has been forthcoming.

“While I find encouragement in the progress our own church has made,” Cordileone wrote then, “there is still more to be done.”

Complete Article HERE!

Maryland Finds That for Hundreds of Clergy Abuse Victims, ‘No Parish Was Safe’

The state attorney general investigated more than 80 years of sexual and physical abuse in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh is pressing for the release of his office’s full investigation.

By Ruth Graham

The attorney general of Maryland has identified more than 600 young victims of clergy sexual abuse over the course of 80 years in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, according to a court document filed Thursday.

The filing, which broadly outlines the attorney general’s findings, requests that a judge allow the release of the full report: a 456-page document detailing decades of clergy sex abuse in Maryland.

The new report marks a symbolic milestone in the long-running international abuse scandal that has shaken faith in the Catholic Church and led to some reforms and billions of dollars in settlements. The Baltimore report is one of the first major investigations completed by a state attorney general on sexual abuse in the Church since a scathing report on six dioceses in Pennsylvania shocked Catholics across the nation in 2018. Colorado investigators issued their own report in 2019 on church abuse.

More than 20 state attorneys general have initiated investigations, most of which are still underway.

Baltimore is the first Catholic diocese established in the United States and is led by an influential archbishop, William E. Lori, who was elected this week as vice president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The scale of the abuse outlined is on par with other large abuse cases uncovered in lawsuits and other investigations in dioceses in Boston, Los Angeles, Pennsylvania and Illinois.

The Maryland report found that “no parish was safe,” according to the filing from the office of Attorney General Brian Frosh. Both boys and girls were abused, ranging in age from preschool to “young adulthood,” which a spokeswoman for the attorney general said reached to age 18.

The filing says the Archdiocese failed to report many allegations of “sexual abuse and physical torture” and neglected to remove accused priests from active ministry or even restrict their access to children. Some congregations and schools had more than one abusive priest there at the same time. “The sexual abuse was so pervasive that victims were sometimes reporting sexual abuse to priests who were perpetrators themselves,” the filing states. One congregation was assigned 11 abusers over 40 years.

“Reading the report in its entirety made me physically ill,” Mr. Frosh said. “We may be looking at the tip of the iceberg, but it’s a very big tip.”

In a letter to church members on Thursday, Archbishop Lori said, “We feel renewed shame, deep remorse and heartfelt sympathy, most especially to those who suffered from the actions of representatives of the very Church entrusted with their spiritual and physical well-being.” Archbishop Lori has served in the role since 2012.

The report identifies 115 priests who have already been prosecuted for sex abuse or identified publicly by the Archdiocese. Another 43 have not previously been identified publicly. Of those newly identified priests, 30 have died, indicating that 13 newly accused priests are still alive.

Mr. Frosh said many of the instances of abuse would have been categorized as misdemeanors at the time they were committed, which means the statute of limitations for criminal prosecution has expired. He said most of the claims in the report are clustered in the 1970s and 1980s, with some before and after.

The Maryland report is the result of a criminal investigation initiated by Mr. Frosh’s office in 2019. A grand jury issued a subpoena requesting all documents from the Archdiocese over the last 80 years relating to allegations of sexual abuse by priests and the Archdiocese’s response to those accusations.

The report requires a judge’s approval for it to be released publicly because it includes material from a grand jury, which is ordinarily kept secret. A spokesman for the Archdiocese said it will not oppose the motion to disclose. But it also said “the motion filed by the Maryland Attorney General does not reflect the Archdiocese’s current and decades-long strong pastoral response and handling of allegations of child sexual abuse.”

The Maryland probe follows a grand jury investigation of abuse in the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania that lasted from 2016 to 2018 and resulted in a sweeping 800-page report documenting widespread abuse. That report accused more than 300 priests of sexual abuse over 50 years.

David Lorenz, director of the Maryland chapter of SNAP, an advocacy group for clergy abuse victims, said that the Maryland report’s significance is “as big as Pennsylvania.” He pointed out that the report addresses only one of the three dioceses that cover the state of Maryland.

“Maybe this is a day of reckoning for the church,” Mr. Lorenz said. He said he had received two phone calls since Thursday from clergy abuse victims who had not previously revealed their abuse.

The sexual abuse scandal has vexed the Catholic Church for 20 years, since The Boston Globe documented the cover-up of widespread sexual abuse in Catholic settings in 2002.

The crisis has led to legal reforms, including the expansion or suspension of many state laws regarding the statute of limitations for filing abuse claims. But it has resulted in relatively few criminal prosecutions. Many cases that have been revealed this century took place decades ago, and the offenders have died or the statutes of limitations have expired.

Complete Article HERE!

How German Catholics pushed Church’s slow reforms

— The Catholic Church in Germany is changing to allow gays and divorcees to join its workforce of 800,000. But the reform does not go far enough for everyone.

by Christoph Strack

It’s an issue that affected the head doctor of a Catholic hospital, who was divorced and wanted to remarry; and the director of a church-run kindergarten, who entered into a same-sex partnership.

Both were dismissed by their employer, the Catholic Church in Germany. That sparked outrage among many German Catholics, who felt the church line made it look hard-hearted and at odds with today’s social norms.

Now, after repeated consultations, Catholic bishops in the country have decided to liberalize regulations covering the approximately 800,000 people who work for the Catholic Church in Germany.

“The core area of private life, in particular relationship life and the intimate sphere, remains separate from legal evaluations,” the announcement stated. In other words, what happens in employees’ bedrooms is outside the Church’s remit.

Reforms in the Church have been driven by the churchgoers
Reforms in the Church have been driven by the churchgoers rather than politicians

More liberal labor laws

The two major churches in Germany, Catholic and Protestant, form the country’s second largest employer after the public authorities. Together, they employ about 1.3 million people, and have their own church labor laws.

But why does the Catholic Church have the right to set its own guidelines for employees in the first place? This is set out in Germany’s constitution, the Basic Law, which grants religious and ideological communities extensive self-determination, including in service or labor law. In past decades, none of the major political parties in Germany wanted to restrict or abolish these provisions of the Basic Law.

That makes it noteworthy that the Catholic bishops are now changing important aspects of their labor laws of their own accord. The pressure came from employees and potential employees, for whom the Church had become an unattractive employer.

Above all, pressure grew from the Church’s base in Germany. Last year, Catholic Church workers caused a stir with an initiative entitled #OutInChurch, which earned support from many church organizations, politicians, and other social groups.

Church employees, including the clergy, came out as queer and pushed for recognition. Many risked losing their jobs, which is why some chose to remain anonymous. But the mood was changing. Some bishops also expressed respect for the initiative and announced that they would no longer fire anyone in their diocese because of their sexual orientation.

The Church’s ‘reform engine’

The “synodal path,” an assembly of lay people and bishops still working to confront abuse scandals and bring the Church closer to contemporary society, discussed the topic and made new demands regarding church labor law. Marc Frings, secretary general of the highest Catholic lay body, the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK), described the “synodal path” as “the engine of urgently needed reforms.”

Now many in the Church are eager to see how implementation will take place. The Bishops’ Conference can decide on a new labor law, and each individual bishop in the 27 dioceses is responsible for implementing — or ignoring — the rules in his diocese. Experts believe that several more conservative bishops might refrain from implementing it.

Among the dioceses that promptly announced they would stand behind the new labor law were Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki’s Archdiocese of Cologne and Bishop Stefan Oster’s Diocese of Passau. Other dioceses, such as Regensburg and Augsburg in Bavaria, have been more reticent.

‘Discrimination remains’

Not everyone has joined the jubilation over the bishops’ change of heart. Würzburg University Pastor Burkhard Hose, for example, still sees “a lot of room for episcopal arbitrariness.” The new labor law, for example, states that “anti-clerical behavior” can be grounds for dismissal, but it does not specify what this might mean, leaving each bishop to interpret it for himself.

German Anti-discrimination Commissioner Ferda Ataman speaks at Christopher Street Day 2022 Berlin,
German Anti-discrimination Commissioner Ferda Ataman has also been calling for more reforms

Jens Ehebrecht-Zumsande, an employee in the Archdiocese of Hamburg and, along with Hose, one of the initiators of the #OutInChurch campaign, has criticized the fact that the new guidelines are based on a “binary gender model …. according to which there are only women and men.” Trans or non-binary people have not been taken into account, he argued.

The German government’s anti-discrimination commissioner, Ferda Ataman, also weighed in, calling for the abolition of all exemptions, except for the clergy. Only that, she said, would protect people like the doctor or the kindergarten teacher who, even under the new regulation, may be fired if they leave the Church.

In general, the federal government lets the actions of the churches pass with little comment.

For Marc Frings, the new labor law is an encouragement for the laity within the churches. He says it is evident from the new labor law “that change and reform come from below.”

Without the #OutInChurch campaign and “engaged Catholic civil society,” we would not be at the current stage of reform, he argues. “This is how we learn that our actions and discussions can have immediate consequences,” he said.

Further reform issues are awaiting action in March 2023, when a final round of the “synodal path” will address, among other things, the demand for equal rights for men and women in the Church.

Complete Article HERE!

Fr Brian Darcy

— ‘The Church needs to learn from transgender people – not just preach Canon Law’

Fr Brian Darcy

Why should we be surprised when a church leader seeks advice about something

I read a beautiful letter from a committed Catholic which shocked me in a good way. I hope it does the same for you.

This is how WE come to terms with difference; it’s how to come to terms with being transgender.

The letter was published in a leading Catholic magazine in the USA called America.

I want to be true to what the writer Christine Zuba wrote and therefore I will quote directly where possible to make sure I am not misinterpreting Christine in any way.

The letter begins: “About eight years ago, after 29 years of marriage to my wife and two beautiful children, I walked into confession with something to discuss.

“For as long as I could remember since about the age of 3 or 4, I knew that I was different.

“As a child, for years I would go to bed praying that I would wake up as a girl. This is a story commonly echoed by many transgender people like myself.”

Christine is a lifelong Catholic. As part of her transition, she took an unusual first step.

She decided to speak to a priest in the Confessional. She was aware in a general way of the teaching of the Catholic Church about being gay.

At that point, however, the church was still relatively silent about transgender persons.

“My faith has always been strong. I’ll never claim to be the perfect Catholic; I do make mistakes. Occasionally (but not often),

“I miss a Sunday Mass, and I’ve been known to utter a bad word once in a while… I do my best to be a good person, though, trying to live each day as if it may be my last.

“I was, and still am, very confident in my relationship with my God. I knew I would be the same person walking out of the confessional as walking in, no matter what some might say or claim about me.

“While my “outside” was changing, everything else—my heart, my mind, my soul and my faith—remained unchanged.”

A young woman holding a rainbow gay flag outdoors. Stock image
A young woman holding a rainbow gay flag outdoors.

The priest was sympathetic to Christine and was amazingly open to a discussion.

“…the conversation immediately diverted to sex. “Excuse me, Father,” I remember saying, “this has nothing at all to do with sex; this has to do with who I am.

“You can throw me out if you want, but if you do, I’m coming right back. This is my church too.”

What a superb response! In fairness, the priest said he had no intention of throwing Christine out.

Instead, he suggested they pray together to ask for guidance for the journey. He was so kind that Christine cried as she left the confessional.

Later she spoke to the Parish Leader in Confession. His first words were: “God loves everyone.”

He added that while he understood what it meant for people to identify as gay, “the transgender subject is somewhat new.” He admitted: “I’ll need you to help me learn.”

“I’ve been blessed”, Christine says. “While I had a very positive reaction from my priests, I know others who have experienced the complete opposite.

“They were told that they are sinners, evil or that they were not Catholic. One of my best friends was even physically carried out of the church during Mass after being refused Communion.

“Many people are still learning about transgender persons. Before the Covid-19 pandemic shut down our daily lives, I had lunch with a local priest who had baptized my grandson.

” He wanted to learn more about me. One of the first things he asked was if I was ever physically or sexually abused when I was young because it was his understanding that people become transgender as a result of abuse. I have never been abused”

An even bigger surprise was in store for Christine. “A year after my transition, I was asked if I would be interested in becoming an extraordinary minister of holy Communion.

“Shortly thereafter we also started an L.G.B.T.Q.+ ministry in our parish…

“Through Zoom, I’ve participated in numerous parish L.G.B.T.Q.+ ministries as well as informational sessions with priests, and religious and diocesan school administrators to help them better understand and accompany transgender adults, youth and children.

” I’ve met many loving, kind, wonderful L.G.B.T.Q. Catholics and allies.”

But there was an even bigger surprise in store.

“About four years ago, I was invited (along with 17 gay and lesbian Catholics, supportive clergy, and parents) to dinner with Cardinal Joseph Tobin at his residence in Newark, N.J.

“It was a beautiful and amazing evening. An introductory reception preceded a beautiful dinner and conversation, after which Cardinal Tobin sat back and asked each of us, “How can I help you?”

It was an inspired move by Cardinal Tobin. But I have to ask myself why should we be surprised when a church leader seeks advice about something he knows nothing about.

Should not that be what every leader would do? Christine had similar thoughts.

Pope Francis
Pope Francis

“I often wonder, however, what it is about me and people like me that causes so much fear among my fellow Catholics.

“Why are the transgender community selectively targeted by some as a threat to the family and the world? Nothing could be further from the truth.

“I understand our faith says that “God made them male and female.” But God made a whole lot more, and everything in between.

“Our world, science, technology, and even our church, have changed over time. Today’s science recognizes that something can happen between the body and mind, causing misalignment between the two.

“I don’t often quote science, though. I just know that “I am,” that God made me this way, and that God made me this way for a reason.

“I don’t wake up in the morning thinking about being transgender. Our lives are no different from anyone else’s. We live, we work, and we pray. We have families.

“We ask simply to be accepted and to be a part of our church, no better or worse than divorced Catholics, or Catholics who may not strictly follow other church teachings.

“Pope Francis has spoken out for L.G.B.T. Catholics, saying that God “does not disown any of his children.”

He is reported to have told Juan Carlos Cruz, a sexual abuse survivor and a gay Catholic man, that “God made you this way and loves you this way,” in reference to his identity. I pray that someday our church will take this to heart and that this message will reach trans Catholics, too.”

There is a powerful and emotional ending to Christine’s letter. In a few words, she outlines a common-sense approach that speaks louder than theology or canon law ever could. This is pure Gospel compassion from Christine Zuba.

“Transgender persons are not an ideology. We are not a threat. All of us are a part of God’s great universe, made in the image and likeness of God, a God who is neither male nor female.”

Now I’m in tears!

Complete Article HERE!

German Catholic Church Changes The Law To Permit Hiring Of LGBTQ People

By Shone Palmer

A new labor law was passed by the Catholic Church in Germany which allows people of the LGBTQ community to work under the church without being discriminated against or fired on the grounds of their sexuality.

The law was passed following a protest conducted last year by the employees of the Church who came out as queer. This new change was part of a greater drive to encourage tolerance and a feeling of oneness inside Catholic institutions.

The church officials also stated that according to the new law anyone can be part of the activities of the church that is ultimately meant to serve people and to exist for the general good in the world. There wouldn’t be any sort of biased behavior in terms of their personal choices unless it doesn’t go against the core values of the gospel itself.

Catholic Church In Germany Changes Policy To Includes LGBTQ Workers

The German Catholic Women’s Community hailed the decision and said that this is one of the most progressive decisions taken by the German Catholic Church which would be remembered throughout history.

The German state labor courts had been always critical of the labor laws of German Catholic Institutions as these didn’t go in agreement with the general labor laws of the country.

In 2011, a German labor court stated that the dismissal of a doctor who worked at a Catholic hospital on the grounds of his remarriage was unlawful.

There was a mass protest in January when around 125 employees of the German Catholic church came out in open with their queer status and raised their concern about living without fear under the catholic institutions in Germany.

There were many employees of the Catholic church like Priests, Religious teachers, and staff of administration who participated in the protest to uphold their identity and freedom.

It garnered a lot of publicity and sparked a massive debate over the stand of the Catholic Church on their hostility towards the LGBTQ community.

Usually, the work contracts of employees would be canceled if they were known to be from the LGBTQ community and the Catholic clergies refrained from blessing same-sex marriages as they considered it to be a “sin”.

The new amendment comes as a big step for the Catholic church and a success story for the LGBTQ community worldwide. The Central Committee of the German Catholics remarked that the decision was “overdue”.

Apart from same-sex relationships, the German Catholic Church was critical of people who remarried after divorce. This was also considered to be an unacceptable behavior and these people also were at risk of losing their jobs anytime.

These orthodox rules at the workplace were highly against the spirit of a democratic society as labor rights were applicable to every individual regardless of their personal lifestyle choices. The people who lived under such scrutiny for a long time had finally come out and expressed their anger and frustration through the protest.

The Conference also added that the amendment is directed at fostering a positive attitude among individuals toward the church and the teachings of the gospel.

Around the world, most catholic institutions are not welcoming of the LGBTQ community. Even in the US, the struggle for LGBTQ rights and social acceptance is still being fought every day.

Even though the situation has become much better compared to the past actions of religious prosecution of the queer communities, it still has a long way to go in terms of policy developments, social laws, and equal opportunities.

This amendment made by the German Catholic church shall be among the forerunners in the march towards queer rights.

Complete Article HERE!