“Examine and Change the Church.” Under this headline the diocese of Essen (in Western Germany) published a video (on Facebook and YouTube) in which employees of the diocese speak out for the acceptance of homosexual “marriages” and the abolition of the Church’s moral teaching on sexuality.
“I am gay, Catholic, married to my husband since 2004 and have been working for the Catholic Church since 1996. Many of our friends always ask: how can this be? And honestly, sometimes it tears me apart to work for an institution that rejects me and my sexuality – our marriage,” says Rainer Teuber, staff member of the Diocese of Essen, in the video.
Not only is acceptance of acting upon homosexual inclinations part of the program for “Changing the Church,” but also acceptance of fornication in the form of premarital cohabitation as well as communion for remarried divorcees.
“The Church hurts people,” alleges Sabrina Kuhlmann, pastoral advisor of the diocese. “All those who are not heterosexual; all those who do not marry but still want to live together; all those whose marriages have failed and who dare a new attempt, they all do not conform to the Church norm, no matter how faithful they are.”
The makers of the video identify themselves with the so-called “Synodal Path” of the German Bishops’ Conference. The “Synodal Path” is intended to represent a special path for the Church in Germany, through which gender ideology (an image of man that does not correspond to the theology of creation), abortion as a human right, and the unconditional recognition of homosexual partnerships are to be gradually introduced into the institutionalized Church.
“When I look into the future, I wish for the Church to move away from the term ‘sexual morality’ and to accept the sexuality of each individual. This is a basic need and we have a right to it. I want to redefine this, I want to go this way with the Church,” proclaims Claudia Fockenberg, supervisor of the diocese in the video, accompanied by sentimental music [emphasis added].
The open support for this initiative by the diocese, which provides a platform for the production of the video and its publication on Facebook and YouTube, is indeed shocking.
The video unquestioningly repeats the usual platitudes that are all too often used by opponents of the Church to attack her consistent teaching. The video does not mention statements by the Church’s Magisterium on homosexuality, constructive pastoral projects aimed at helping people with homosexual tendencies, or even Pope Francis’ warnings against the aspirations of those who want to “redefine” the “institution of marriage,” which the Pope has repeatedly called a “threat to the family.”
That “sexual morality” should be completely abolished, and that the “inclusion” of homosexual marriages should be celebrated not as a “loss of values” but as “enrichment” (as demanded in the video) is diametrically opposed to Church doctrine and also to the natural understanding of a family as a bond of life between a man and a woman. Morality is to be exchanged for an “ethics of relationships” that can be adapted – at will – to the convictions of the individual in the sexual sphere.
One of the demands is that theology recognize the “new discoveries” of the human sciences and bow to them: the eternally valid teaching of the Church, which is based on revelation and a philosophia perennis, is thus dismissed as outdated, obsolete and worthless.
It is wretched that such a blatant attack on the truth about mankind is promoted and financed by a Diocese of the Catholic Church! Above all, however, such statements promote a false understanding of the Church’s teachings about man and his sexuality and repeat criticisms of the Church with meaningless slogans – spread by “employees” of the Church. At the same time, pastoral initiatives for people with homosexual inclinations – like Courage International – are not mentioned.
Will there be a reaction from the diocese? Will these employees of the diocese be dismissed? Will there be a clarification from Bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck? We can only wait, but probably in vain.