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Bishop Helmut Dieser of the Diocese of AachenScreenshot/YouTube

AACHEN, Germany (LifeSiteNews) –– The Catholic Diocese of Aachen has declared itself in favor of same-sex relationships and blessings, offering blessings to “all couples and newly in love” for the recent St. Valentine’s Day.

In a February 14 Facebook post, the traditional feast of St. Valentine, the Diocese of Aachen issued a welcome to “all couples and newly in love.”

The post read: 

This goes out to all couples and newly in love:

We wish you a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

If you would like to have your love blessed: In the diocese of Aachen there are blessing celebrations or services in all regions. (Dates and locations in the story).

How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Just let us know in the comments

Accompanying the text was an image of two men caught in the act of kissing with the caption “Love is everything.”

Screenshot of Facebook post

Some of the phrases used with a hashtag to promote the post included “loveislove” and “outinchurch.” Details of the locations and times where such blessings were being offered were contained in the diocese’s Facebook “story,” which disappeared after 24 hours.

The event is not surprising, given that Aachen Bishop Helmut Dieser is a notable proponent of homosexual ideology. In November. he declared that “homosexual lovemaking” is not an aberration but a “variant of human sexuality.”

READ: German bishop: Homosexual ‘attraction’ and ‘lovemaking’ not an ‘aberration’

“The world is colorful and creation is diverse,” Dieser stated. “And then I may also accept a diversity in the area of sexuality that is willed by God and does not violate the Creator’s will.”

The diocese defended its Facebook post from multiple social media users, who noted how the blessing of same-sex couples was in defiance of Catholic teaching. One individual wrote the diocese should “[j]ust start a religious community that follows your rules. Instead of claiming you follow the Catholic teaching.” To this, the diocesan Facebook page’s official response was: “God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides with him. (1. John 4:16).”

READGerman bishop: Homosexuality is ‘willed by God,’ contraception ‘strengthens the protection of life’ 

The post and the blessings offered appear to directly defy the Vatican’s 2021 ruling from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), which reiterated the Catholic Church’s ban on blessing same-sex couples, calling them “illicit.”

That text, assented to by Pope Francis and signed by CDF Prefect Cardinal Luis Ladaria Ferrer, SJ, stated it is “not licit to impart a blessing on relationships, or partnerships, even stable, that involve sexual activity outside of marriage (i.e., outside the indissoluble union of a man and a woman open in itself to the transmission of life), as is the case of the unions between persons of the same sex.”

The Diocese of Aachen is also in defiance of the CDF’s 1986 document “On the pastoral care of homosexual persons,” which states that a “truly pastoral approach will appreciate the need for homosexual persons to avoid the near occasions of sin.” 

In the 1986 text, the CDF admonished bishops to ensure they, and any “pastoral program” in the diocese are “clearly stating that homosexual activity is immoral.” 

Such an authentic pastoral approach would “assist homosexual persons at all levels of the spiritual life: through the sacraments, and in particular through the frequent and sincere use of the sacrament of Reconciliation, through prayer, witness, counsel and individual care,” the CDF stated.

The instruction adds: 

But we wish to make it clear that departure from the Church’s teaching, or silence about it, in an effort to provide pastoral care is neither caring nor pastoral. Only what is true can ultimately be pastoral. The neglect of the Church’s position prevents homosexual men and women from receiving the care they need and deserve.

Therefore, special concern and pastoral attention should be directed toward those who have this condition, lest they be led to believe that the living out of this orientation in homosexual activity is a morally acceptable option. It is not.

In his first letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul states that homosexual actions are sinful, explaining that “neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers” will “inherit the kingdom of God,” but rather, according to his letter to the Romans, those who practice homosexuality will receive “in their own persons the due penalty for their error.”

READ: Hope for the Church in Europe: Alexander Tschugguel rallies Catholics at pro-life conference in Austria

Writing in response to the diocese, Matthias von Gersdorff – pro-life activist and head of the German office of the traditional Catholic organization TFP – described the proffered blessings as a “schismatic and heretical act. It is also an act of severe disobedience towards Rome.”

Marking the “grave transgression against the Catholic faith, against Catholic morals and against the unity of the Church” which such blessings represent, von Gersdorff stated that “the performance of blessing ceremonies is de facto equivalent to the establishment of a separate sexual morality or magisterium.”

He called on Dieser to “do everything possible to ensure that such blessing ceremonies no longer take place in his diocese.”

LifeSiteNews contacted the diocese, asking about the event, and inquiring if the diocese was thus rejecting the CDF’s ban of same-sex blessings. This report will be updated upon receipt of a response.