Austria. 350 Priests: “We will Continue to Bless Homosexual Couples.”
17 Marzo 2021
As was foreseeable, the German-speaking Catholic world is reacting to the statement of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, approved by the reigning Pontiff, regarding the prohibition of the blessing of same-sex couples. While reactions are being prepared in the German Synodal Way, in Austria the priests of the “Pastors’ Initiative” have protested vigorously. Let’s see how (in our translation).
With the title “Called to Disobedience 2.0,” the initiative of Austrian pastors has clarified in a press release on Tuesday [March 16]: “We are continuing to bless same-sex couples.” This statement was a reaction to a corresponding decree from the Vatican on Monday.
In it, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had declared that there could not be any blessing of homosexual unions according to Catholic teaching. “We members of the Pastors’ Initiative are profoundly horrified by the new Roman decree that seeks to prohibit the blessing of loving couples of the same sex,” the statement says.
It is a relapse into times “that we hoped to have overcome with Pope Francis.” We will continue – in union with many others – not to refuse any loving couple that asks to celebrate the blessing of God, which they experience every day, also in worship. Reality has demonstrated for some time, it said, “the couples of the same sex united in love can very well celebrate the blessing of God, including ecclesiastically. An avant-garde theology is the foundation of this responsible practice.”
The initiative protests with vehement affirmation that same-sex couples are being accused of not being part of the divine plan. “Here there is an effort to undermine the reality of creation with dogmatizing presumptions. We profoundly deplore this decree, which seeks to revive the spirit of times that were hoped to have been over, and further widens the fracture between the Roman bureaucracy and the Church lived on the ground.” The letter of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he said, hits many Christians over the head and denies and discredits “the liberating message of Jesus.”
A movement of Catholic priests and deacons
The Pastors’ Initiative is an Austrian movement of Catholic priests and deacons of the Roman Rite that supports new ways in the Church. According to the group’s own statements, their objectives are “vibrant parishes, contemporary synodal structures in the Church, and, above all, a universal church that is credible and open, which concentrates on sincere service of people.”
Founded in April 2006 by nine priests, the initiative now boasts around 350 members coming from the ranks of the traditional Roman Catholic Church. More than 3000 laymen and laywomen support the reform movement around Father Helmut Schüller.
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