A large collection of German Catholic priests are standing defiant against a church ban on blessing same-sex unions by offering such blessings at 100 churches throughout the nation.
A number of German clergy members, which skew more progressive than their Vatican counterparts, stated Monday that denying blessings to same-sex couples seeking them amounts to classifying their love as lesser than heterosexual couples.
“If we say God is love, I cannot tell people who embrace loyalty, unity and responsibility to each other that theirs is not love, then it’s a fifth or sixth-class love,” priest Christian Olding told Reuters. “We’re going to have the whole diversity of love.”
What began as a petition alongside Germany’s Love Wins initiative resulted in multiple regions across the nation hosting blessing ceremonies on Sunday. More held blessing ceremonies on Monday and those that didn’t hold ceremonies were encouraged to fly Pride flags in solidarity.
“I want to celebrate the love of homosexuals with these blessings because the love of homosexuals is something good,” Rev. Jan Korditschke told The Associated Press. “I stand behind what I am doing, though it is painful for me that I cannot do it in tune with the church leadership … the homophobia of my church makes me angry and I am ashamed of it.”
The decision comes as the Catholic church as a whole continues to wade slowly into the pools of LGBTQ acceptance while still maintaining policies that classify LGBTQ relationships and activities as “sin.” The latest example of this balancing act came in March when the Vatican decreed that Catholic priests cannot bless same-sex unions because doing so would “bless sin.”
That ruling came six months after Pope Francis stated his support for same-sex couples to have civil unions under the Catholic church banner. He upheld the March ruling, stating it was “not intended to be a form of unjust discrimination, but rather a reminder of the truth of the liturgical rite.”