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Austrian bishops commission book calling same-sex relationships ‘image of God’s goodness’ 

A new book commissioned by the bishops demands that Church teaching on homosexuality be overturned
Tue May 26, 2020 - 10:48 am EST
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LINZ, Austria, May 26, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A new book commissioned by the Austrian bishops argues that homosexual relationships come from God, revealing God’s “goodness and humanity.” The book calls upon the Church to change her teaching against homosexuality and to bless homosexual relationships. 

According to liturgical scholar Fr. Ewald Volgger OT, who contributed to the book, changing Church teaching on homosexuality “can be not only discussed, but also demanded.” The Church could only bless homosexual relationships after a previous change to Church teaching, as Volgger pointed out himself.

Talking to the diocesan newspaper of the Diocese of Linz, he said, “There is also a considerable number of bishops that would like to see a rethinking in the area of sexual morality for the evaluation of same-sex relationships.”

While making sure to distinguish the blessing from the sacrament of marriage, Volgger nevertheless claimed that homosexuality needs to be seen in a positive light.

“Just as marriage between a man and a woman is an image of God’s creative love, so is a same-sex relationship an image of God’s attention to human beings,” he said. “If partners live the gift of mutual love in faithfulness to one another and live their lives with the spiritual gifts of God such as kindness, forbearance, patience, reconciliation, etc., their relationship is also an image of God’s goodness and humanity.”

Volgger praised the blessing of homosexual couples on Valentine’s Day, as it takes place annually, for instance, in Cardinal Christoph Schönborn’s cathedral in Vienna. The blessing proposed in the book commissioned by the Austrian bishops, however, goes beyond that.

“A benediction, as proposed from the point of view of the theology of liturgy, would also have an official character through which the Church expresses the obligation of fidelity and the exclusivity of the relationship,” according to Volgger.

In his interview with the diocesan newspaper, Volgger did not explain how Church doctrine could change. The Church’s condemnation of homosexuality goes back to ancient biblical times.

“The rejection of homosexual behavior that is found in the Old Testament is well known,” writes Catholic Answers. “In Genesis 19, two angels in disguise visit the city of Sodom and are offered hospitality and shelter by Lot. During the night, the men of Sodom demand that Lot hand over his guests for homosexual intercourse.”

After Lot’s refusal, “the angels blind the men of Sodom. Lot and his household escape, and the town is destroyed by fire ‘because the outcry against its people has become great before the Lord’ (Gen. 19:13).”

It is because of this passage that homosexuality is called one of the four sins that cry out to God for vengeance. 

In the New Testament, St. Paul is clear that active unrepentant homosexuals cannot enter heaven. 

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God,” he writes.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that homosexual acts are “acts of grave depravity,” pointing out that tradition has “always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’”

“They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved,” states the Catechism. 

The Catholic Church furthermore teaches that the homosexual inclination is also “objectively disordered” since God created sexual attraction for the purpose of drawing a man and a woman together to become husband and wife in marriage. 

The book commissioned by the Austrian bishops looks at the blessing of homosexual relationships not only from the point of view of liturgy. It also contains a section on ethics and moral theology, a biblical section, as well as a chapter looking at the current situation in Austria, where homosexual “marriage” was legalized in 2019.

Advocates for changing Catholic teaching on homosexuality in North America used the publication of the book to push their agenda.

Pro-homosexual Jesuit Fr. James Martin tweeted about it:

New Ways Ministry, which, according to its website, “educates and advocates for justice and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Catholics, and reconciliation within the larger church and civil communities,” also wrote about it.

German-speaking bishops are a significant force in advancing the homosexual agenda.

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, at the time head of the German Bishop’s Conference, said in 2019, “I insist: we welcome homosexuals, they belong to the Church, also to the sacramental community.” He added that homosexual couples can receive “a blessing in the sense of a pastoral accompaniment, we can pray together.”

The current president of the German Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Georg Bätzing, has also called for changing the Church’s official teaching on “practiced homosexuality” by “jumping over trenches.”

“Here the statement of the Catechism is first of all that these people are to be met with esteem and respect,” Bätzing said in an interview earlier this year. “But every single sexual act is seen as evidence of a disordered sexual life. This is something that many people no longer want or can understand.”

Bätzing claimed that in moral theology, “we have long since moved towards saying” that if “true love and faithfulness are lived,” even among same-sex partners, “we must acknowledge that.”

On the other hand, German Cardinal Gerhard Müller has come down strongly on the side of Church doctrine during a talk in 2018.

“If a priest blesses a homosexual couple, then this is an atrocity at a holy site, namely, to approve of something that God does not approve of,” the former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith pointed out.

June 5, 2020 correction:  The priest’s name has been corrected from Vollger to Volgger. 


  austria, austrian bishops, blessing, diocese of linz, ewald volgger, homosexuality, same-sex blessing

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