BERLIN (LifeSiteNews) — Archbishop Heiner Koch of the Archdiocese of Berlin has officially permitted the blessing of erotic relationships between people of the same sex.
The prelate cited Pope Francis’s and Archbishop Victor Fernandez’s statements on the issue as justification.
In a letter addressed to priests, deacons, and all pastoral employees of his diocese, Koch said that he would tolerate the decision of pastors to bless same-sex unions and not take “disciplinary action” against them.
The archbishop cited the resolution by the heretical Synodal Way that approved same-sex blessings earlier this year. However, Koch also justified his decision by quoting from Francis’s controversial 2016 encyclical Amoris Laetitia. With this document, he said, the Pope gives “pastors a lot of leeway when dealing with people in so called ‘irregular’ situations.”
Koch said that he himself will not bless homosexual relationships as long as there is no official change to the Vatican’s declaration that the Church does not have the power to bless them. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith expressed this orthodox position in response to a dubium in 2021.
However, Koch indicated that the Vatican’s position might change soon, citing recent comments made by the newly appointed Prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop Victor Fernandez. The Argentine prelate, chosen by Francis as his doctrinal watchdog, has suggested that same-sex blessings might be approved by the Church if they do not cause confusion about the nature of sacramental marriage being between a man and woman.
The German archbishop, seemingly empowered by Francis’s and Fernandez’s statements, wrote that the issue has been discussed internally in his archdiocese. He presented the “pro” and “contra” arguments offered to him, portraying the choice as two equally valid options.
Koch said that he “expect[s] that the pastors’ decision for or against a blessing [of a same-sex union] will be respected.”
According to Catholic news outlet katholisch.de this permission also applies to civilly “remarried” divorcees who wish to have their irregular relationships blessed.
German bishops on their way to Protestantism
Mathias von Gersdorff, a Catholic commentator and the head of the German branch of TFP (Tradition, Family, Property), stated in video that Archbishop Koch is inventing “a kind of agnostic religion” and that he is committing “a sort of schism” in the Archdiocese of Berlin.
Von Gerdorff described Koch’s decision to let each priest decide privately whether to bless same-sex unions as nonsensical and weak. He compared Koch’s attitude to that of many German bishops in the beginning of the sixteenth century during Martin Luther’s Protestant revolt. These bishops, who did not take a clear stance and tried to please both the Catholic and the Protestant side, all ended up becoming Protestant in the end, von Gersdorff remarked.
Abp. Koch’s support for sexual sins
Pope Francis appointed Koch as the Archbishop of Berlin in 2015, when the German bishop’s heterodox position on same-sex relationships and “remarried” divorcees was already well-known. In 2017, the German prelate endorsed a “sexual education program” that promoted fornication and even abortion. Koch also expressed his affirmation for a “different form of family” besides sacramental marriage. He furthermore publicly apologized for the Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexual acts, saying that “homophobia” was an “unholy line of tradition” in the Church, during an ecumenical pro-LGBT prayer service he attended in Berlin.