The German Catholic Bishop Conference along with 125 others including priests, religious educators, and Church employees are backing a new initiative titled “#OutInChurch – For a church without fear.”

The initiative has seven demands calling for a change in Church teaching on sexuality and gender “in view of worldwide Church responsibility for the human rights of LGBTIQ+ persons.”

“Defamatory and outdated statements of Church doctrine on sexuality and gender need to be revised on the basis of theological and human-scientific findings.” 

The initiative was launched in Germany to much publicity, and promoted by Bishop Helmut Dieser, chairman of the “Synodal Way” forum on “Living in Successful Relationships.”

“With the Synodal Way, we learn to understand more deeply that sexual orientation and gender identity are part of the person, and we have an image of the human being that tells us that the person is absolutely loved by God, and from this, we approach the topics of sexual orientation, identity, but also sexual fulfillment in a new way with the Synodal Way.”

Bishop Franz-Josef Bode of Osnabrück in northwest Germany said he appreciated the initiative, calling it “a courageous step by 125 queer employees of the Catholic Church from all over the country.”

Archbishop Stefan Heße of Hamburg in northern Germany added there is a “long overdue debate” on Church labor law, one of the demands made by the initiative.

“An open life according to one’s sexual orientation and gender identity, even in a partnership or civil marriage, must never be considered a breach of loyalty or a reason for dismissal.”

What DOES the Church teaching have to say?

“The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition. Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.” – CCC 2358-2359

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