Catholic  Archbishop  permits  priests to  administer   blessings   to  same-sex couples

By  Our  Foreign Correspondent

Berlin,  Oct   23  (IVC)    The  Catholic  Archbishop  of  Berlin (Germany) , Heiner  Koch  has  given  permission  to  priests  under  his  jurisdiction  to  administer  blessings  to  same-sex  couples. He said  in a statement   here  on August 21. The  archbishop  emphasized  that his  directive  aligns with  the intentions   of  Pope  Francis,  the  statement  added.

                Quoting   Pope  Francis’ apostolic exhortation  Amoris Laetitia he  said  that “it  is  no  longer  possible to  say that  all who  are  in  any  so-called  irregular  situation  are  in  a state  of mortal  sin and  have lost  sanctifying grace”. 

                Archbishop  quoted  liberally  from  the  Pope’s  encyclical ’Amoris  Laetitia’  to  justify  his  decision  in this  regard.

                “Pope  Francis  emphatically calls for  pastoral discernment”, Koch  wrote.  While  rejecting  “the  legal equality  of  same-sex  partnerships  with  marriage,” the  pope  “gives  the  local churches, the pastors,  a  lot  of  leeway in  dealing  with  people   in  so-called ‘irregular’ situations”.

                Koch  also  cited  Amoris  Latetitia    on inclusion:  “ It  is  about  including everyone; you  have  to help everyone to  find  their own way, to participate in  ecclesial communion so  that he  may  feel  himself  a  recipient  of  an undeserved,  unconditional and unrequited  mercy.”

                Further ,  the   senior  prelate noted  that  the  perfect-designate of  the  Dicastery  for   the Doctrine  of  the  Faith, Archbishop  Victor  Manuel  Fernandez ,  has  expressed in “openness”  to  reflecting on  same-sex  blessings provided that  they are  not  confused with the   sacrament of  marriage.

                “What  Pope  Francis said  about  the  sacrament of  the Eucharist  in his  2013 apostolic exhortation  Evangelii  Gaudium  applied  to  all  sacraments ,  including marriage,  and even   more  so  to  a  sacramental such  as blessing:  “It  is not  a  prize for  the perfect  but  a  powerful medicine  and  nourishment for  the  weak” Archbishop  Koch  stressed.                

“Blessing , therefore,  does  not have  the  meaning of  ‘legitimize,  approve,  bless”,  the  prelate insisted.  “As  the  blessed,  we  all  remain  guilty  people  who  need  the  edifying  grace of  God for  our  path in life”.

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