On May 10, 2021, over 500 Catholic priests throughout Germany will hold a mass blessing of gay unions that will take place in 50 different parishes. Most of these clerics have the unequivocal support of their bishops and have been told that they need not worry about canonical sanctions. This heterodox and defiant event, which threatens to edge the Church closer to the precipice of schism, is called “Love Wins, Blessing Service for Lovers.” Bishop Georg Bätzing, head of the German Bishops Conference, contends that such blessings are warranted since they reflect the sensus fidelium and represent an evolution of pastoral practice toward same-sex couples.
The “Love Wins” ceremony loudly proclaims the disapproval of the German hierarchy with the recent Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) ban on such blessings. According to the CDF statement approved by Pope Francis, “it is not licit to impart a blessing on relationships…that involve sexual activity outside marriage.” But many German bishops and priests seem to believe that “love” conquers all, including magisterial instructions that reflect immutable Catholic doctrine anchored in Sacred Scripture.
Jesus does not say a great deal about sexual morality. But he makes an unambiguous reference to the order of creation when he proclaims that marriage is a one-flesh union between a man and woman. In a phrase packed with philosophical density, he declares that these two persons “are no longer two, but one” (Matthew 19:5). This indissoluble marital union between man and woman is the Creator’s plan for humanity “from the beginning.” And this plan is disrupted by adultery along with sex outside of marriage, which Jesus calls “fornication” (pornea). These evil thoughts and deeds that come “out of the heart…are what defile a man” (Matthew 15:18-20).