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”.