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Berlin Cardinal: ‘Ja To Gay Relationships’

If this report from Germany’s Tagesspiegel is accurate, then Rainer Woelki, the Roman Catholic cardinal archbishop of Berlin endorsed gay relationships in a speech before a conference of German Catholics. Here is the quote, followed by a translation:

Und wörtlich: „Wenn zwei Homosexuelle Verantwortung füreinander übernehmen, wenn sie dauerhaft und treu miteinander umgehen, muss man das in ähnlicher Weise sehen wie heterosexuelle Beziehungen.“

„Wow“, raunt es im Saal.

In translation, via Google:

“When two homosexuals take responsibility for one another, if they deal with each other in a faithful and long-term way, then you have to see it in the same way as heterosexual relationships,” Woelki said.

“Wow,” went the whispers in the room.

Yeah, I bet.

If anybody has anything to add to this, please post or e-mail. I’ve seen nothing on it in the English language press.

UPDATE: This, from a Reuters blog last year, after Cdl Woelki was named to the Berlin see:

Like Daniel in the lion’s den, Berlin’s new Catholic archbishop met the media on Tuesday to face accusations he was homophobic and far too conservative for such a prominent post in the free-wheeling German capital. Rainer Maria Woelki, a surprise choice for the high-profile post, professed respect for gays, denied membership in the staunchly conservative Opus Dei group and said he did not come to Berlin to point a censuring finger at non-Catholics.

Berlin’s gay community and liberal media reacted with dismay to his appointment last week, saying the Cologne-based prelate was “backwards-minded” and the wrong man for the job. But interest in the new prelate was so strong that the Catholic Church, a minority of about 390,000 in a 3.5 million population mostly indifferent or hostile to religion, had to switch the news conference to a larger hall at the last minute to accomodate over 100 journalists who turned out.

“We will meet with each other,” Woelki, 54, said when asked about the city’s active gay community. “I have respect and esteem for all people independent of heritage, skin colour and individual nature. I am open to all without reservations.” Describing himself simply as Catholic, he denied being a member of Opus Dei despite having done his doctorate at the group’s Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome. That part of his biography led to media reports over the weekend calling him “reactionary.”

“The Church is not a moral institution that goes around pointing its finger at people,” Woelki said. “The Church is for me a community of seekers and believers and the Church would like to help people find their hapiness in life.”

UPDATE.2: A German-speaking reader, to whom I am grateful, translates Cardinal Woelki’s press secretary’s statement about the matter as follows:

Press Secretary Stefan Förner explained that media reports had severely truncated [the Cardinal’s] words. It is the Cardinal’s desire that homosexuals are “not discriminated against.”

The press secretary then explained [the Cardinal’s statements] word for word to KATH.NET: “Cardinal Woelki set long-term homosexual relationships in which two people have already made a life-long commitment to one another in relation to [certain] heterosexual relationships which indeed are not in any case “in [proper] Catholic order” (the unmarried, those lacking commitment, etc.). A comparison with sacramental marriage between man and wife was absolutely not the theme.”

Press secretary Förner explained in concluding to KATH.NET: “Sacramental marriage between man and woman retains its special role. I see no cause for confusion.”

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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