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Bishop Franz-Josef Bode, vice president of the German Bishops'

BERLIN (LifeSiteNews) — The German Bishops’ Conference (DBK) has officially supported the #OutinChurch LGBT campaign publicly backed by 125 Catholic Church employees, including clergy.

On January 24, the LGBT campaign released their seven-point list of demands to the Catholic Church, including for a change in Church “doctrine” on sexuality, as well as a documentary entitled “How God Created Us,” which has been characterized as “the biggest coming out in the Catholic Church” by German Christian magazine PRO.

The #OutinChurch “For a Church without fear” campaign demands that “the Church must not withhold the blessing of God and access to the sacraments from LGBTIQ+ persons and couples,” and that the Church accept for employment those who live “an open life according to one’s sexual orientation and gender identity.”

It also calls upon the German bishops to “take responsibility” for the “suffering” supposedly caused to “LGBTIQ+ persons,” “address the institutional history of guilt,” and “advocate for the changes” called for by the campaign.

The same day the campaign was publicized, the Bishop of Aachen, Helmut Dieser, made an official statement “welcom[ing] the LGBT campaign on behalf of the German Bishops’ Conference as a sign that we are working so that this climate of fearlessness can and must develop in our Church.”

Appearing to echo the campaign’s insistence that “LGBTIQ+ persons must have access to all fields of activity” in the Church “without discrimination,” Dieser said in the DBK video that “no one can be discriminated against, devalued or criminalized because of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” as reported.

In a separate interview published January 24, Dieser expressed his views more clearly and strongly, accusing the Church of “criminaliz[ing]” homosexuals, and suggesting that a disordered homosexual orientation is a “gift from God”: “Homosexuals were also devalued and criminalized by the church. A confession of guilt is also due here. . .We are working on that. . .Now we say: Sexual orientation is a gift from God. It is not to be questioned, but it must be led into the discipleship of God.”

Dieser suggested in his DBK video, contrary to Catholic teaching, that the Church can take a “new” approach to sexual orientation and “identity.”

“The Synodal Path teaches us to understand more deeply that sexual orientation and gender identity are part of the person. We have an image of the man who tells us that the person is loved unconditionally by God and on this basis we approach the questions of sexual orientation, of identity, but also the success of sexuality in a new way,” Dieser continued.

Dieser also said he is “convinced” that the “Synodal Path” provides the “necessary space” to “respond in a constructive way” to “these questions,” “in order to be free from fear.”

The German Synodal Path, a series of “synodal” meetings begun in late December of 2019, is a process by which the German bishops seek to change Church teaching on issues such as female priesthood, homosexual relationships, and priestly celibacy. It has been firmly condemned by German Catholic laypeople, as well as by Church prelates.

Cardinal Gerhard Müller told LifeSiteNews that the agenda of the German Synodal Path “is diametrically opposed to the Catholic faith in form and content.”

For years, the German bishops as a whole have been notorious for defying Church teaching in various ways, such as by advocating for allowing sacrilege via Communion for those in adulterous relationships and permitting Protestants to receive Holy Communion under certain circumstances.

Indeed, since the launch of the #OutinChurch campaign, at least several German bishops have publicly embraced it.

A January 24 statement from the The Diocese of Essen, for example, praised the campaign, noting that Bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck “already called on the Church two years ago to ‘depathologize’ homosexuality.”

Bishop Franz-Josef Bode von Osnabrück said he sees the campaign as “a courageous step by 125 homosexual employees of the Catholic Church throughout the country,” and Bishop Heinrich Timmerevers of Dresden-Meißen thanked those featured in the campaign documentary for their “impressive testimonies” on his diocesan Twitter account.

The Catholic Church teaches that the homosexual inclination is intrinsically disordered; it does not teach that persons who experience it are themselves disordered. It also teaches that homosexual activity is intrinsically disordered (CCC 2357).

In its 2003 document Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), led by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, cautioned, “In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty. One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application. In this area, everyone can exercise the right to conscientious objection.”