A German bishop has begun a process to discuss blessings for people in relationships that cannot be married in the Catholic Church, including same-gender couples.
Dr. Beate Gilles, head of the Diocese of Limburg’s Office of Children, Youth, and Family, released a letter on behalf of Bishop Georg Bätzing inviting church employees and representatives of Catholic associations to discuss the question, “Couples, who cannot enter Catholic marriages, ask for church blessings. What to do?” Gilles letter explained further:
“Between the reality of life and conviction of many Catholics and the teachings of the church there is a tension. We want to talk about that at the discussion forum. We want to hear people who ask the church for a blessing for their partnership. There will be reports from pastoral workers and we will get to know the proposal for blessing celebrations. Above all, we want to talk and discuss with each other.”
The types of couples named for consideration are those who do not wish to be married, those who are divorced and civilly remarried, and those in same-gender relationships. Part of the discussion will be of a proposal by Fr. Johannes zu Eltz, dean of Frankfurt, to bless such relationships. Suggesting the desire for blessing is a “primitive human need,” the priest wrote:
“[The couples being blessed] all agree that a sacramental marriage is out of the question, but they want to ask for God’s blessing for their partnership in a church celebration.”