Munich, March 15, 2023
Starting from March 2026, the Catholic church in Germany will offer blessings for same-sex couples.
A meeting between bishops and lay representatives reached this decision on Friday, as part of the “Synodal Path” launched in 2019 in response to the sexual abuse crisis.
176 participants in the meeting, including at least two-thirds of the 67 Catholic bishops in Germany, voted in favor of the blessings. Only 14 voted against, and 12 abstained, according to the National Catholic Reporter.
The head of the German Bishops’ Conference Georg Baetzing called the result a “very good outcome, reports The Local.
Many churches already have such services, though they aren’t formally approved by the Catholic church. Most recently, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, responsible for defending church doctrine, ruled in 2021 that same-sex unions could not be blessed.
While Pope Francis warned about the liberalizing trends in Germany in an interview in January, the German bishops assure him their decision won’t cause a schism.
Though the Catholic church formally has 23 million members in Germany, the majority of Germans say religion is unimportant for them.
The General Synod of the Church of England also voted last month to bless same-sex couples, prompting more conservative Anglican leaders to reject Archbishop Justin Whelby of Canterbury as the head of the global Anglican church.