In a contribution for an American LGBT “Catholic” blog, called “Outreach” (Sunday), and managed by the American Jesuit publication America Magazine, the general secretary of the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK), Marc Frings, expresses his hopes for the success of the Synodal Way, especially in relation to a change in the Church's perspective on homosexuality.
In this contribution, Marc Frings says that he hopes that the dialogue on the reform of the Catholic Church in Germany will give important impulses for a “clear readjustment” of the teaching of the Church on homosexuality.
The Synodal Way, he continues, is “a conscious statement against the Catholic Catechism which, since the mid-1970s, has approached homosexuality as experienced critically, denigratingly, and with the accusation of sin.”
Marc Frings demands: “The Church must be a 'safe space' to meet people with different sexual identities.” Homosexual and heterosexual relationships aspire to the same values and experience the same challenges, he further explains.
“All couples experience success and failure, and always – regardless of their sexual orientation – the Church should be at their side to support them and send a message of welcome, because the Church must have the ambition to be a homeland for all me
A corresponding change in the position of the magisterium can certainly not take place in a local church, but important impulses could emanate from it, Frings further explained. Even if in other parts of the universal Church, a revision of Catholic sexual doctrine is not a priority.
But “a comprehensive promotion of human rights to be able to lead a self-determined life without restriction” should be a top priority for the Church in Germany. “This is how we can help ensure that homophobia and discrimination are also named as such in other countries and that we fight abuses such as conversion therapy.”
Marc Frings then outlines the plan: “The Church in Germany must be strong, demanding and progressive” vis-à-vis the countries of the South and other EU states. He highlighted the #OutInChurch initiative, in which around 125 collaborators and members of the Catholic Church came out publicly. For him, this initiative has “dynamized the discourse in the local German Church.”
This is why, continues the general secretary of the ZdK, In September, the synodal assembly will discuss a text which will recommend that pope clarify and reassess homosexuality. However, he tempers, the German bishops should not wait for the decision of the synodal assembly “to actively take the lead themselves at the level of the universal Church.”
Frings concludes: “Homosexual and heterosexual relationships aim for the same values and experience the same challenges: fidelity and permanence on the one hand, alienation and the reduction of desire on the other.”