Leaders of Germany’s #OutInChurch Negative About Church’s Response, Affirm Gay Religious

Reiner Teuber

A leader of Germany’s #OutInChurch initiative has evaluated the church’s response to the movement in the past two years quite negatively. At the same time, another member of the initiative affirmed the presence of gay men in religious life. Elsewhere in the country, a Catholic men’s group criticized some of Pope Francis anti-transgender rhetoric.

#OutInChurch Co-Founder Critical of Church’s Response

Rainer Teuber helped launch #OutInChurch, in which more than 125 LGBTQ+ church workers in Germany publicly came out in early 2022 and appealed for reforms. The initiative had seven requests, including new employment non-discrimination policies, a review of church teaching on sexuality and gender, and church leaders’ apologies for the harm done to LGBTQ+ people. However, Teuber said in a recent interview that only one request was met. Katholisch.de reported (via Google Translate):

“Only church labor law has been reformed and made more non-discriminatory. ‘That means: two years after our campaign, we are still at the very beginning of the journey,’ said Teuber.

“To come to terms with this, an independent study is needed to analyze existing structures and reveal how and where discrimination took place. ‘Those responsible must admit that there is structural discrimination against queer people in “their” church,” emphasizes Teuber. Church leaders must acknowledge guilt and take responsibility for it. This is an important prerequisite for creating a discrimination-free church without fear. . .

“Specifically, the spokesman for #OutInChurch is calling for reparations where this is still possible. Queer people who have been deprived of the ‘Missio canonica’ [approval to do ministry] should be offered it again, as the diocese of Trier has already done. In order to deal with traumas experienced within the church, the church must cover the costs of professional psychological support. Prayers and church services should be designed in such a way that they reflect the diversity of the congregations: ‘Liturgy must not perpetuate the structures that have made sexual violence and discrimination possible through language and staging.’ Furthermore, power must be controlled and contained through binding co-determination.”

Top German Franciscan Affirms Gay Religious

Br. Markus Fuhrmann

One member of #OutInChurch who also spoke out recently is Br. Markus Fuhrmann, provincial of the German Franciscan Province and an openly gay Catholic. Katholisch.de interviewed him about the question of homosexuality in religious life, particularly from his perspective as a community leader. Previously, Bondings 2.0 reported on how Fuhrmann was elected by his fellow friars while already out. In the new interview, he shared more details of the experience. According to Katholisch.de (via Google Translate), when asked how his community reacted to his coming out, Fuhrmann replied:

“There was applause. The choice actually fell on me. I don’t think my sexual orientation played any role for the brothers. I don’t know whether my choice has set an example or whether I am an encouragement to others. If so, I would be happy. It is important to me that I can honestly say who I am and what I am. And I want us to have an atmosphere in our religious province in which no one has to be afraid to be open about their sexual orientation. . .

Yes, there were [some negative reactions], along with many positive and encouraging reactions. Some brothers told me that they didn’t mind me being gay, but I didn’t have to say that publicly. Since the church media worldwide reported on the election of a homosexual Franciscan provincial, there were also protests from some confreres in leadership or training responsibility from other continents. They asked the general leadership of the order how they could admit me to the office of provincial superior since I was gay. Here our world order reflects the situation and the controversies in the world church.”

Fuhrmann was also asked about the role sexual orientation plays in religious life, including admission into the community. He told the interviewer that being gay is no impediment to joining, but that “it would be important that he accepts his sexuality as it is and that he integrates it well into his life. . .you should also be clear about your own sexual orientation and affirm it.” He added:

“If I repress or devalue my own sexuality and my homosexuality, then my religious life will make me and others unhappy. Living in community can give me feedback and support, but it also takes energy and nerves. When things go well, living in a community allows me to mature. In my opinion, it is also helpful to maintain friendships with people outside the religious community, ideally with men and women. I also find our biennial meetings with our former confreres who have left the order and now live in partnerships or with families to be enriching. Their life stories also enrich us as a community. All of these relationships help me face my own needs honestly. This discussion is also helpful in preventing sexual or spiritual abuse of power. If I am aware of myself, my strengths and weaknesses and my needs, if I know what is good for me and what is not, then I don’t get into dependency or weird relationships so easily. It helps to recognize and respect my boundaries and the boundaries of others.”

German Catholic Men’s Group Rejects “Gender Ideology” as Threat

In March, before the Vatican’s transgender-negative declaration on human dignity, Dignitas Infinita, was released, the Forum of Catholic Men (FkM) in Germany issued a statement critical of Pope Francis and other church leaders for their warnings against “gender ideology.” In a statement, FkM’s members stated, in part, per Katholisch.de (via Google Translate):

“The existence of people with different gender preferences is rather a fact, even within the male spectrum. In addition to the two binary genders of man and woman, there are many other variants between and outside of these two poles,’ said the statement. Last week the Pope described ‘gender ideology’ as the ‘ugliest danger’ today, which ‘erases differences and makes everything the same.”

“Among the members of the FkM there are people who are homosexual, bisexual, asexual, non-binary, intersex, transsexual or genderfluid: ‘Putting these specific people under the “ugliest danger” of “gender ideology” contradicts a Christian view of humanity the equality and equal dignity of all people, which is what Catholic men’s work in Germany stands for.’

Robert Shine (he/him), New Ways Ministry, April 30, 2024

2 replies
  1. Ginny King
    Ginny King says:

    I am grateful Robert for your clarification of this topic.
    It helps me understand better
    this gender ideology. I had read a little but was somewhat confused.
    Thanks for sharing your understanding with us.

    DUANE SHERRY says:

    Pope Francis could remove the term “intrinsically disordered” from the CCC in a minute.

    He could spend time reviewing the science, and admit his comments on “gender ideology” were unfounded in short order, and retract his former statements.

    We all *make time* for the things we see as priorities in our lives. These things are apparently not priorities for Francis.

    There is much about the Pope I admire, but as a father of an adult transgender daughter, I’m left unimpressed on these issues.

    Much admiration has been expressed by the faithful toward Francis; not enough criticism.
    His lack of action is life-threatening. He needs to be held accountable by those in the pews, or the Church will soon see those pews emptied by younger members of the church. It lost this 67 year-old cradle Catholic; younger Catholics to follow.


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *