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