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Germany Lurches Toward Schism

State of the Union: Pope Francis has said he doesn’t fear schism. He may have one on his hands.

Synodal assembly decides blessing celebrations for homosexuals
(Photo by Arne Dedert/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Germany's Synodal Way, a conference of bishops and laymen, voted last week to permit the blessing of same-sex couples, defying a March 2021 responsum authorized by Pope Francis that declared the Church "cannot bless sin."

The bishops are daring Rome to respond. In an interview with German media earlier this week, Bishop Georg Bätzing proclaimed, "Homosexual couples, couples who are divorced and remarried, couples who are asking for a blessing—yes, that is something we are going to do here," adding, "It is good that we are doing this. Whatever is good in a relationship between two people can receive God's blessing."

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That rejects the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith's—and, by extension, Pope Francis's—reasoning in the March responsum, in which they held that positive elements in same-sex relationships "cannot justify these relationships and render them legitimate objects of an ecclesial blessing, since the positive elements exist within the context of a union not ordered to the Creator’s plan."

Francis has said he doesn't fear schism. He may well have one on his hands.