On its ‘Synodal Way’ the German Catholic church has voted in favour of church blessings for same sex couples, the ordination of women as deacons, an end to mandatory celibacy for priests and to the ban on lay people delivering homilies at Mass.
A decision on whether to move to joint lay-clerical governance at parish and diocesan level was postponed.
This last idea has been strongly opposed by the Vatican, on the grounds that it could undermine the authority of bishops, who are subject to papal authority. Pope Francis has criticised the German church’s tendency to take decisions which could in theory move it towards schism, a split with the universal church which is conducting its own synodal process, culminating in Rome in late 2023 and 2024.
The German decision to approve church blessings for same-sex unions passed on Friday afternoon, March 10th. Entitled “Blessing ceremonies for couples who love each other,” the measure was opposed by only nine of 58 bishops, while 11 bishops abstained.
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