German Catholic prime bishop urges postponement of girls’s ordination and homosexuality

(RNS) – Bishop Georg Bätzing, the current President of the German National Conference of Catholic Prelates, called on Tuesday (December 29) for a more inclusive church and suggested that the Catholic hierarchy could change its positions on women’s ordination and homosexuality.

According to the Catholic News Service, Bätzing, head of the Diocese of Limburg near Frankfurt, told a German magazine that while it was important to “honestly present the Church’s arguments as to why sacramental service can only be given to men”, arguments diminish over time convincing.

“In theology there are well-developed arguments for opening up sacramental service to women,” Bätzing told the German magazine Herder Korrespondenz.

He suggested that change could be gradual by ordaining women as deacons in the Church before ordaining them to priests and bishops.

According to reports, Bätzing also discussed the Church’s position on homosexual relationships, which the Catechism of the Catholic Church currently describes as “inherently disordered”.

It was not immediately clear what changes the bishop would like to see in the teaching of the Church on this matter, but he requested the ecclesiastical blessing of couples who cannot marry in the Catholic Church – including same-sex couples and divorced people who get back without them marry a suspension.

“We need solutions that are not only effective privately, but are also publicly visible – and yet make it clear that no marriage is solemnly concluded,” he said.

Bätzing, known as a reformer, has expressed similar opinions several times this year. He discussed the ordination of women in March when he was elected to lead the German Bishops’ Conference, and in June signaled support for married priests.

He also told Catholic News Service in May that the Church should study the “signs of the times” and “develop” doctrines – including those dealing with sexual morals.

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