It's Time to Bless Lesbian & Gay Couples, Suggests German Bishop

Bishop Bode

A German bishop who will attend the Synod on marriage and family this fall has proposed that priests should be allowed to bless same-sex couples’ relationships.

Bishop Franz-Josef Bode of Osnabruck told that when it comes to lesbian and gay relationships their strengths must be recognized in addition to perceived shortcomings.

He further endorsed civil unions, though careful to separate them from marriage, and said, as translated from German:

“The Church can help civil unions through discussions and assist them in a positive way. . .[W]ith prayer and a private form of blessing, you will be able to accompany them on their way.”

Bode’s support for civil unions and better pastoral accompaniment of same-gender relationships is similar to a small, but growing, number of bishops around the world.  This is particularly true for German-speaking prelates, echoing positive comments last week from another synod delegate, Vienna’s Cardinal Christoph Schönborn.

Previous support for same-gender couples has also come from Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki of Cologne (formerly of Berlin) and Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich.

Bishop Bode’s remark about blessing lesbian and gay relationships is, hopefully, an idea that will be carried on and championed at the Synod.

While it is not an unqualified endorsement of same-gender partners, it is a shift towards recognizing the goodness and holiness of lesbian and gay lives, rather than condemning them.

–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry

8 replies
  1. Michael Brinkschröder
    Michael Brinkschröder says:

    Great! I am very happy about this statement from Bishop Bode.

    Just a slight correction: Cardinal Woelki (formerly Berlin) is now Archbishop from Cologne and Cardinal Marx is Archbishop from Munich.

  2. terryweldon
    terryweldon says:

    What I find particularly interesting about this interview, is that he does more than simply express support for the principle of church blessings for gay couples, he points to a way in which this might actually become feasible, largely on the basis of recognition of differing social and legal contexts around the world, and on the proviso that these are kept “private” (presumably, not publicly, in church). That’s a very small step, but a very useful one all the same – and it could become reality, at least locally, in some German dioceses.
    I discuss this further at Queering the Church ( ), and an English translation of the entire text at The Queer Church Repository ( )

    • Don Siegal
      Don Siegal says:

      To bless relationships privately has the effect not freely giving the blessing at all. The Church does things best when she does so in community.

      In addition, no matter how well meaning, the time to bless relationships and civil unions and not bless marriages is past. That train has already left the station.

      • Loretta Fitzgerald
        Loretta Fitzgerald says:

        Well said, Don, particularly the first comment. The idea that comes to me with the second statement is that what is “old or past” to us is new for the Church.. Thanks for your comment.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] But when lay Catholics in Germany called for the church to bless same-gender partnerships outside of marriage, bishops including Marx rebuked them sharply. Marx himself has both affirmed the love found in such partnerships, and also spoken strongly against understanding them as equal to marriage. Meanwhile, Bishop Franz-Josef Bode of Osnabruck said such couples should be blessed. […]

  2. […] noticia la que nos llega desde Alemania, donde un obispo católico se ha mostrado a favor de bendecir a las parejas del mismo sexo unidas en una relación estable, aunque de forma privada y no en una […]

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