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(LifeSiteNews) – A German bishop said that the Catholic Church should “widen” its understanding of the family to include every form “where people live with children,” including homosexual couples. 

When bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck was asked in an interview by if the Catholic Church needs to “widen its understanding of the family,” Overbeck replied, “It is high time that she does that.” 

Family is where people live with children,” the German prelate stated. “No form of family offers a guarantee of stability and security. That’s why it’s also difficult to adhere completely uncritically to just one ideal form of family. 

Asked if homosexual couples could be good parents, Overbeck responded, Why shouldn’t they be? It is not a matter of moralizing at this point, but of developing perspectives together for good pastoral care of all family models with all the people living in them.

READ: German bishops adopt new labor law allowing Church employees to live in same-sex relationships 

I think it is the wisest thing in our world to start from the children’s well-being when talking about family,” the bishop said. “From this point of view, other constellations can also be portrayed. Most people live and experience family as a relationship between father, mother, and children. However, this does not mean that family can only succeed in this way. 

Overbeck’s comments run contrary to perennial Church teaching and the natural law. Marriage between a man and a woman is the basis of the family, as it is the only form that can create new life in the form of children. The definition of marriage cannot be changed by anyone, since “God himself is the author of matrimony,” as the Vatican II document Gaudium et Spes teaches. 

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states the following (CCC 1603): 

“The intimate community of life and love which constitutes the married state has been established by the Creator and endowed by him with its own proper laws…. God himself is the author of marriage.”

The vocation to marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator. Marriage is not a purely human institution despite the many variations it may have undergone through the centuries in different cultures, social structures, and spiritual attitudes. These differences should not cause us to forget its common and permanent characteristics. 

Although the dignity of this institution is not transparent everywhere with the same clarity, some sense of the greatness of the matrimonial union exists in all cultures. “The well-being of the individual person and of both human and Christian society is closely bound up with the healthy state of conjugal and family life.”

READ: No room for ‘inclusion’: Homosexuality and transgenderism are sins against nature itself 

Furthermore, the Catechism states that the complementarity of the two sexes, man and woman, is essential for good family life (CCC 2333): 

Everyone, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity. Physical, moral, and spiritual difference and complementarity are oriented toward the goods of marriage and the flourishing of family life. The harmony of the couple and of society depends in part on the way in which the complementarity, needs, and mutual support between the sexes are lived out. [Emphasis added.]

Overbeck’s claims that any form of living arrangement that involves children can be called a family is also directly refuted by the Catechism. When describing so-called “free unions,” meaning cohabitation and sexual relations between a man and woman who are not married, the Catechism states that such forms “destroy the very idea of the family.” (CCC 2390) 

Overbeck is known for his heterodox positions. He supported blessings for homosexual couples and was the first bishop in Germany to authorize laywomen to regularly perform baptisms due to an alleged lack of priests. He is also a proponent of the heterodox Synodal Way. 

Even though the Vatican and Pope Francis do not officially support the heterodox German Synodal Way, reports and sources confirmed the “real possibility” that Francis may appoint a German bishop, Heiner Wilmer, as the new prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith. 

Bishop Wilmer, SCJ, of Hildesheim, Germany, is one of the strong supporters of the controversial German Synodal Way. He voted for the controversial September 2022 document on sexuality of the German Synodal Way that did not meet the necessary two-third majority of bishops and regretted that it failed. He claimed that “it is not possible that the Church’s teaching is hurting or discriminating people.” 

Wilmer, who speaks fluent Italian and is, according to, the website of the German bishops, well-connected in Rome, is also a supporter of the discussion of female ordination and the end of priestly celibacy. 

In 2018, Wilmer caused a stir by claiming in light of the abuse crisis that “abuse of power is in the DNA of the Church,” adding that “we have to say goodbye” to the claim that “the Church in herself is pure and immaculate.” In April 2020, during the COVID-related lockdowns of churches around the world, Wilmer condemned Catholic faithful who are “fixated only on the Eucharist.” 

READ: Pope Francis to appoint heterodox German bishop as Church’s doctrine chief: reports