Bishop Karl-Heinz Wiesemann of the Diocese of Speyer, Germany, has called on priests in his diocese to grant “blessing ceremonies” for homosexual unions as well as adulterous and sinful relationships outside of marriage.
In a November 2 letter to the clergy and staff of the diocese, the bishop invoked the German Synodal Way, which voted 93% in favor of same-sex “blessings,” together with other heterodox practices. Wiesemann also invoked Pope Francis’ statement, “Who am I to judge?” and suggested that such “blessings” should be adopted by the wider Church through the Synod on Synodality.
Claiming an urgency to the “blessing” of same-sex unions, Wiesemann wrote, “Both with regard to believers whose marriages have broken down and who have remarried, and especially with regard to same-sex oriented people, it is urgently time, especially against the background of a long history of deep wounds, to find a different pastoral attitude inspired by the Gospel, as many of you have been practicing for a long time.”
The bishop called for an overturning of Catholic teaching on homosexuality, declaring, “That is why I have advocated for a reassessment of homosexuality in church teaching and also for the possibility of blessings for same-sex couples. I stand by that. I hope that this pressing issue of our time can also be given a good further development on the path of the World Synod.”
Discussing people in homosexual relationships who seek “blessings,” Wiesemann asked pastors in his diocese “to work with them to find ways that are suitable for them so that they can experience God’s blessing for their shared journey through life.”
The policy endorsing same-sex “blessings” was announced on the diocesan website, with the bishop claiming it was inspired by “his own long pastoral experience” to offer “pastoral care for couples who cannot or do not want to receive the sacrament of marriage for various reasons.”
The bishop affirmed that “no one who conducts such blessing celebrations has to fear sanctions” and that by granting such “blessings,” “we give these believers a clear sign of God’s closeness in the community of the Church.”
Without addressing the sinfulness of all sexual activity outside of marriage, Wiesemann said he would “respect” when pastors “cannot reconcile a blessing with your conscience and understanding of faith” but also instructed them to “refer couples who ask for a blessing” to the diocese.
Although the diocese instructed that “the blessing must differ in word and sign from a church wedding, since it is not the celebration of a sacrament,” nonetheless, it affirmed that it is intended to “expressly strengthen as an act of blessing what exists in the couple’s relationship in terms of love, commitment and mutual responsibility,” in explicit contradiction to Catholic teaching.
The bishop announced that he was establishing a special “mediation office” in the diocese to deal with requests for “blessings” outside of marriage, through which “couples” would be referred to the pastors in their region.
The letter of Bishop Wiesemann to his pastoral staff can be viewed here.
In 2021, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith condemned same-sex “blessings” and declared that “it is not licit to impart a blessing” on relationships that include sexual activity outside of a valid marriage.
“For the above mentioned reasons, the Church does not have, and cannot have, the power to bless unions of persons of the same sex,” the text stated, adding that God “does not and cannot bless sin.”
The Catholic Church teaches that all sexual activity outside of marriage is gravely sinful and that homosexuality is “disordered” and an “intrinsic moral evil,” in accordance with Sacred Scripture and the constant Tradition of the Church.