Featured Image
Bishop Georg Bätzing, president of the German Bishops’ ConferenceScreenshot/YouTube

FRANKFURT-AM-MAIN (LifeSiteNews) — Members of Germany’s heterodox Synodal Way have voted overwhelmingly in favor of a document containing “blessings” for same-sex couples, as well as for the divorced and “re-married,” in a move putting them in direct opposition to the Vatican and Catholic teaching.

In a vote held March 10, participants of the Synodal Way overwhelmingly approved a text called “Blessings for couples who love each other” in a majority of almost 93%. The combined members voted 176 to 14, with 12 people abstaining.

Amongst the bishops of the German Bishops Conference (DBK) who form part of the Synodal Way, the text was approved by 38 to 9, with 11 abstaining. As noted by the National Catholic Register’s Jonathan Liedl, had the 11 bishops not abstained and voted against the measure, they would have prevented the text’s approval.

The results were met with cheering and applause by clerical and lay members of Germany’s Synodal Way, gathered in Frankfurt for the three-day meeting — the final such event of the Synodal Way which formed in 2019 ostensibly in response to sexual abuses crises. 

According to CNA Deutsch, the approved text states that the Catholic Church “offers recognition and accompaniment to couples who are united in love, meet each other in full respect and dignity, and are willing to live their sexuality in the long term in mindfulness for themselves, for each other, and in social responsibility.”

READ: Cdl. Müller: ‘German Synodal sect’ has replaced Catholic faith with LGBT ideology 

The vote had been preceded by much debate amongst the participants in the meeting, with proponents of same-sex “blessings” strongly advocating for the text. Pope Francis’ controversial document Amoris Laetitia was cited by those making such arguments, including by former Papal advisor Cardinal Reinhard Marx.

Bishops Rudolf Voderholzer, Stefan Oster, and Maria Hanke continued their habit of being the few voices defending Catholic teaching in the Synodal Way and opposed the document, with Volderholzer stating that “reasons of conscience” prevented him from supporting it.

A previous attempt to have the document approved in September last year failed, after bishops were able to vote against it in a secret ballot. Cardinal Marx was furious at the outcome, and in today’s proceedings a secret ballot was not permitted.


READ: German Synodal Way approves text calling homosexual acts ‘not sinful’ and ‘not intrinsically evil’

The German Synodal Path has long been a scandal in the Catholic Church, with more than 70 bishops rejecting it in public and entire bishops’ conferences raising their voices in alarm. Laity are also concerned. Irme Stetter-Karp, the Vice-President of the Synodal Path, was rebuked by German Catholic laity for endorsing abortion and for demanding “that the medical intervention of an abortion should be made possible across the board.”

Bishop Bonny assists German heterodoxy

Proponents of the text today were notably supported by the presence of Belgium’s Bishop Johan Bonny. Bonny joined with other Flemish prelates in September and published a text for the “blessing” of same-sex couples, in violation of Catholic teaching. 

Bonny has consistently claimed that Pope Francis supports the bishop’s personal promotion of homosexuality and since September has further claimed the Pope’s approval for the Belgian bishops’ same-sex “blessings.”  

Both the German and Belgian bishops’ conferences made their respective ad limina visits to the Vatican last fall, where they were received warmly by Pope Francis.

READ: Pope Francis is encouraging dissident bishops to spread error and sinful teaching  

This fact was noted by participants at the meeting today, who highlighted how Pope Francis had taken no action against the Belgian bishops for their promotion of same-sex “blessings.”

Speaking in Frankfurt, Bonny said that Francis had neither approved nor disproved of their Belgian text, but instead said it was a matter of pastoral concern for the local bishops to decide. “We did, from a pastoral point of view, what we are supposed to do,” said Bonny of the same-sex “blessings” document.

READ: The ‘Synodal Way’ wants to reverse Catholic teaching on homosexuality. Here’s why that’s impossible

What happens now?

With the text approved, it is now the duty of the DBK to prepare a handbook containing the formula for such blessing, reported the German bishops’ news outlet. The bishops must “develop and introduce appropriate liturgical celebrations in a timely manner,” added CNA Deutsch.

The outlet reported that such liturgical notes should consist of “suggested forms for blessing celebrations for various couple situations (remarried couples, same-sex couples, couples after civil marriage) … as well as a pastoral-theological introduction and pastoral-practical advice.”

Priests are not required to participate in any such blessings, but neither may any who conduct them be punished by the German bishops.

The blessings, as approved today, will commence in March 2026.

However, the vote directly rejects the CDF’s March 2021 responsum condemning same-sex “blessings.” The responsum was in answer to whether or not the Church has the “power to give the blessing to unions of persons of the same sex.” 

The CDF stated that 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.”

It remains to be seen whether this direct rejection of Catholic teaching on the part of the Synodal Way incurs any response from the Vatican. So far, the Roman Curia’s — at best only mild — interjections on the Synodal Way have been freely ignored by the Germans, who appear to enjoy the implicit support of Pope Francis.