Austrian Priests Respond to Vatican Ban on Queer Blessings with “Call to Disobedience”

A group of reform-minded Austrian priests have issued the strongest critique yet of the Vatican’s ban on blessing same-gender unions. The Pfarrer Initiative, a priests’ church reform organization, released  the statement on Tuesday, one day after the Vatican’s ban was announced.

Given the strength of their statement, its wider significance, and the courage exhibited in publishing it, Bondings 2.0 reprints  the English version below. For a PDF version of this text, click here. The text reads as follows:

Call to disobedience 2.0: We will continue to bless same-sex loving couples

We, the members of the Austrian Priests’ Initiative are deeply appalled by the new Roman decree that wants to prohibit the blessing of same-sex loving couples. This is a relapse into times that we had hoped to be overcome with Pope Francis. In solidarity with so many, we will not reject any loving couple in the future who wants to celebrate God’s blessing, which they experience every day, in a church-service. Reality has long since shown that same-sex couples connected in love can very well celebrate God’s blessing in church. A state-of-the-art theology establishes this responsible practice.

We vehemently protest against the assumption that same-sex loving couples are not part of God’s divine plan. Here an attempt is made to undermine the reality of creation with dogmatizing presumptions. We deeply regret that this decree, which seeks to revive the spirit of bygone times, widens the gap between Roman bureaucracy and the local Church. This decree offends many Christians and obscures and discredits the liberating message of Jesus.

The Austrian Priest’s Initiative is an Austria-wide movement of Roman Catholic priests and deacons who follow their conscience and campaign for new paths in the church. Its goals are: lively congregations, contemporary synodal church structures and, above all, a credible and open-minded world church that focuses on sincere service to people.

Founded in April 2006 by nine priests, the initiative now has around 350 members from the ranks of the Roman Catholic official church. More than 3,000 lay people support the reform movement around Father Helmut Schüller [an internationally-known church reform leader].

Robert Shine, New Ways Ministry, March 17, 2021

Other  Resources

For a listing of Catholic leaders who have spoken positively about same-gender relationships and unions, click here.

For information about a Catholic blessing for a same-gender couple, click here.

For more information on how to be welcoming to married same-gender couples, click here.

Previous Reports

March 16, 2021: “Top German Bishop ‘Not Happy’ with Vatican Ban on Blessing Same-Gender Couples

March 16, 2021: “A Catholic Blessing for Same-Gender Couples

March 15, 2021: “New Ways Ministry Calls Vatican’s Ban on Blessing Same-Gender Couples An Impotent Decision

March 15, 2021: “Catholic Parishes Are Already Supporting and Celebrating Same-Gender Couples

5 replies
  1. Richard Rosendall
    Richard Rosendall says:

    I appreciate the Austrian priests and others who are protesting the Vatican ruling. I tweeted the following message to @Pontifex on Twitter:

    “Your ruling against blessing gay unions feels like a betrayal and undermines your ministry. It may inspire violence. Still, we love as God made us to love. If our love is not blessed, nothing is blessed. What is the point of a Church that issues such intolerant rulings?”

    DON SIEGAL says:

    The Ninety-five Theses

    I do not think I understood the huge significance of the CDF’s response to the dubium—a doctrinal question that is asked to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and which later receives a responsum—on the Church’s blessing of same-sex couples. Who is the author of the dubium? Did the CDF sua sponte source the dubium? I also do not understand Pope Francis’ complicity with the CDF’s responsum, unless the Holy Father believes that a renunciation would likely be a Church dividing issue.

    I do know that in the San Joaquin Valley where I live, the Episcopal Dioceses of San Joaquin had and still endures a schism because of a dispute about the inclusion of LGBT members. I also know that the United Methodist Church has a resolution on the table to have an official division of the U.S. Church concerning the inclusion of LGBT members. (The vote has been deferred due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but the resolution is expected to pass.)

    The swift negative response by the German/Austrian Catholic Churches testify to the seriousness of this matter. As for me, I do not desire any further division of the universal church. That is why I stay. My question to the readers: Do you think the Pfarrer Initiative’s statement, “Call to disobedience 2.0: We will continue to bless same-sex loving couples” released on Tuesday, one day after the Vatican’s ban was announced is comparable to Martin Luther’s “Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences” of 1517, which came to be known as the Ninety-five Theses?

  3. Cheryl Rogers
    Cheryl Rogers says:

    Cheers to the Austrian Bishops……. Hope still is alive and blooming. Thank you Thank you thank you with God’s blessing to you and us all!
    I agree with Civil Disobedience also reflecting on how much more unwelcomed can the Vatican leadership make the LBGTQ people of God? The Church blesses Easter Baskets, homes, animals, ships, anything I can think of and yet for the souls of mankind, ALL mankind is affected by not blessing a love union between two consenting adults by the Church. Enough all ready, learn from us, we have a purpose to mature the church leadership with OUR gifts of Spirit that only we can give in the area of relationships based on love. I mean heterosexual relationship marriages condoned by the church have more then a 50% divorce rate and also more are involved in domestic violence of the spouse and children, and that is condoned and blessed. God help us.

  4. Annette Magjuka
    Annette Magjuka says:

    Thank you. This is the appropriate response to the discriminatory statement against blessing LGBTQ people. Continue to use conscience as your guide. Do not be afraid to stand up for love, because Jesus Christ IS love.


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