It’s fish-or-cut-bait time for the Pontiff now that German priests are openly defying some 2000+ years of Church doctrine.
German priests began granting explicit blessings to same-sex couples. It’s stopped short of calling it ‘marriage’, but by offering a blessing, it is sending a message that same-sex relationships are accepted, welcomed, and sanctified by God himself.
In a move that angered liberals within the 1.3 billion-member Church, the Vatican’s doctrinal office said in March that priests cannot bless same-sex unions in lieu of marriage, despite ministers doing so in countries such as Germany.
“If we say that God is love, I cannot tell people who embrace loyalty, unity and responsibility to each other that theirs is not love, that it’s a fifth-or sixth-class love,” said Christian Olding, a priest in the western city of Geldern.
“I look forward to the blessing. We’re going have all forms of relationships: classic heterosexual marriages, divorced and remarried couples, unmarried couples and yes, also same-sex couples,” Olding told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“We’re going have the whole diversity of love.”
Priests and dioceses all over Germany have joined the “Liebe Gewinnt” or “Love Wins” initiative, with blessings taking place this week in cities like Berlin, Munich and Cologne, home to Germany’s largest archdiocese, as well as rural areas. — Reuters
Now we’ll watch to see how Pope Francis — more open to LGBT issues than his predecessors — says or does in response.
Those pretty words of affirmation might sound inclusive and sensible to modern sensibilities. But that’s missing the point. Strictly speaking, it was never the priest’s job — or even the Pontiff’s — to define what is and is not sin.
While it IS the Christian’s job to proclaim Christ, his word, and his truth, we serve as ambassadors, not legislators. We deliver the message in the name of the Head of State, we have no authority or standing to alter it.
His Truth includes love and mercy, but that same Truth also includes strong words about a variety of sins the world entices us to embrace.
Having a ceremony in which a priest might ‘bless’ a sexual practice God had condemned as sinful (including sinful heterosexual relationships) would make no more sense than having a ceremony where he would ‘bless’ getting blackout drunk, or swindling people, or greed, or the worship of Baal.
Quite the opposite. The Bible points to all kinds of behavior that WAS part of the believer’s old way of living, but no longer is because of the transformative power of God on that person’s life, as expressed in I Cor 6:
9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Note the list he’s giving here starts with unrighteous people NOT inheriting the kingdom of God, followed by a list of specific examples of who he means… then he pivots to verse eleven. Such WERE some of you, BUT you were washed, sanctified, justified…
Maybe instead of trying to shoehorn the Church into relevance on sexual matters, we can take a lesson from Christ’s conversation with the woman at the well, and love people enough to speak boldly and honestly about reality.
The woman at the well was shacked up with some unnamed dude after several failed marriages.
Jesus did not flinch from touching the raw nerve of sin in her life… ‘go and call your husband’, something that would be entirely normal within the cultural context.
She tried to dodge, claiming she had no husband. But Jesus loved her enough to be honest with her.
Jesus pressed further. “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.”
That hard reality was the beginning of a conversation that eventually led to her conversion to saving faith. But to get there, Jesus had to FIRST deal with the lies she was telling to herself. She claimed she was in a marriage, but Jesus saw through the sham for the lie itself. How is today any different?
The lesson here is that people in general are very good at taking selfish, stupid, or otherwise self-destructive behaviors and dressing them up, justifying them as valid. But only God has the ultimate, unbiased and impartial perspective to differentiate sin from righteousness.
Every sinful act, by its own nature, is on some level corrosive to the person participating in it.
It is an act of Love for God to call us to repentance from all the ways we go astray, and call us back to Him. If calling sinners to repentance is an act of love… what do you suppose God would call it when religious leaders refuse to call sin by its real name?
Maybe now we can see why scripture says ‘friendship with the world is enmity with God’.
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