UPDATE April 29, 2022, 4:39 p.m. Eastern: This article previously incorrectly reported that Fathers Imhof and Graf published their letter anonymously. They did not; the article has been updated to reflect that.
CHUR, Switzerland (LifeSiteNews) — A group of Swiss diocesan priests have said they will not sign a new code of conduct imposed by their bishop, claiming the code is an attempt “to implant LGBT ideology in the Church under the guise of preventing sexual assault.”
The priests, Father Franz Imhof and Father Roland Graf, published a statement yesterday in reaction to the new Code of Conduct issued by their diocese, which they say “violates the doctrine and discipline of the Catholic Church.”
Bishop Joseph Bonnemain of the Diocese of Chur, Switzerland, signed the code on April 5, and issued a letter to all priests and employees of his diocese saying that the new code would be “binding for all leaders and employees of the diocese from mid-2022 onwards.”
The priests began their statement by acknowledging that “95% of what is contained in the code of conduct regarding prevention, we consider to be mere common sense and decency.”
“Nonetheless, the bishop should have never signed this document,” the priests added.
While acknowledging that it is “absolutely necessary to do everything possible to ensure better prevention [of sexual assault],” the priests cited several passages of the code which according to them, would “muzzle the doctrine of faith and morality.”
In one of these passages, priests must agree to “refrain from sweeping negative assessments of allegedly unbiblical behavior based on sexual orientation.”
The priests noted that this would prevent them from “proclaim[ing] the Church’s teaching on homosexuality as stated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC).”
The CCC teaches that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered,” “contrary to the natural law,” and can be approved “under no circumstances.”
Priests who commit themselves to the new code would also have to agree “not to actively take up topics related to sexuality, and to refrain from offensive questioning about intimate life and relationship status,” when engaging in pastoral conversations.
“This also applies to conversations I have as a supervisor,” the code adds.
According to the priests who issued their statement against the new code, this would prevent priests from asking the necessary questions for marriage preparation, which are there to ensure, among other things, that the future spouses agree with the Church’s teaching that marriage is a “sacramental community of life and love between a man and a woman.”
They also noted that if the head of a seminary or a diocesan bishop were to sign the new code of conduct, they would no longer be able to comply with the provision Ratio fundamentalis institutionis sacerdotalis approved and ratified by Pope Francis on December 8, 2016 which states “that persons who practice homosexuality, have deep-seated homosexual tendencies, or who support so-called ‘homosexual culture’” may not be admitted in the seminary.
In addition, “how could one still credibly require a candidate for the priesthood to commit himself ‘in the prescribed rite publicly before God and the Church’ to lifelong celibacy (canon 1037) if at the same time it is declared that his ‘relationship status’ is in fact taboo for Church leadership?” asked the priests rhetorically.
The priests also pointed out that, if priests or deacons living in immoral situations “may no longer be held accountable, or dismissed from Church ministry,” this would create a “double standard,” as the Church would continue to preach what it no longer demands of its priests and laity.
The priests ended their statement by criticizing another passage of the new code which states: “I refrain from any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or identity [and] I recognize sexual rights as human rights, especially the right to sexual self-determination.”
According to them, this passage would mean that heads of seminaries would again no longer be able to prevent people with homosexual tendencies or who practice homosexuality from entering the seminary.
“In the same way, the refusal to ‘bless’ a same-sex couple would no longer be possible,” the priests added.
They quoted a February 22, 2021, declaration from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) which stated that “it is not permitted to give a blessing to relationships or stable partnerships that involve a sexual practice outside of marriage (that is, outside an indissoluble union of a man and a woman open in itself to the transmission of life), as is the case with unions of persons of the same sex.”
The priests explained that applying such principles has nothing to do with discrimination but rather with “upholding the perennial teachings of the Church.”
“For the time being, we declare by our signature on the present declaration that we, for reasons of conscience, will not sign the code of conduct of the Diocese of Chur,” the priests concluded.