By Rod DREHER
Priests and pastoral workers in Germany defied the Vatican Monday by conducting blessing ceremonies attended by same-sex couples.
Organizers held a day of protest on May 10 in response to the Vatican’s recent declaration that the Church does not have the power to bless same-sex unions.
The ceremonies, known as “Segnungsgottesdienste für Liebende,” or “blessing services for lovers,” were promoted using the hashtag “#liebegewinnt” (“love wins”). Organizers said that the services were open to all couples, including — and in particular — those of the same sex.
CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner, reported that ceremonies took place in around 80 cities in Germany as well in Zürich, Switzerland’s largest city.
In the Augustinian Church in Würzburg too all couples — expressly including same-sex couples — were invited to “come and get” the individual blessing in a backroom, after the service.
The order of service varied from place to place. A participant who attended the blessing ceremony in Cologne told CNA Deutsch that the ceremony was like a “political event.” The event was led by a female pastoral counselor in liturgical robes, who explained that she had already quit her church service.
After some political statements, the Gospel was read aloud, followed by a speech. Finally, the song “Imagine” by John Lennon was played.
Perfect, just perfect: the anthem of Boomer atheism, performed by rebel clerics and laity of a dying church, to celebrate the blessing of gay partnerships. And you watch: nothing will be done to the priests and lay leaders who participated in this.
UPDATE: Whaddaya know, Douthat just posted a column about this situation, putting it in wider context. Excerpts:
Still, there are reasons schism may not come. The last time I wrote about the forces unleashed by the Francis era, I was focused on the dilemmas of conservatives and traditionalists, whose high view of papal authority means that they don’t have a clear place to stand if they seem to be on the wrong side of the pope. When they confront a papal decision that seems incompatible with orthodoxy, you’re more likely to get a retreat to end-times anxiety and paranoia — the place where, say, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the sex-abuse whistle-blower turned Trumpist oracle, has ended up — than any kind of large-scale defection or explicit schism.
More liberal Catholics, in Germany and elsewhere, take a lower view of the pope’s authority and power, so in theory you might expect them to be more willing to make a decisive break with Rome. But liberal Catholicism without the Catholicism part would instantly lose much of its interest, energy and flavor. The confidence that conservative Catholics place in the church’s consistent teaching is matched among more progressive Catholics by a confidence that the Holy Spirit will eventually lead the Vatican to see the world their way and that they are the key players in this epochal religious drama. To leave outright, to cede the universal church to conservatives, would cut the heart out of this vision.
Douthat brings up an essay I’ve been trying to write about these past few days, but didn’t get around to it. It’s a sobering piece by Anne Keating, writing in Hedgehog Review, about how, despite being a liberal Catholic, she had to resign her post as a campus minister in a liberal college. Excerpts:
When I took the job, I didn’t see my presence on campus as a Catholic campus minister as controversial or political. I am a liberal, a feminist, and myself a product of an “elite university.” Both culturally, and in terms of my expertise, I thought I would be a good fit for a progressive institution committed to helping students explore their various identities, whether in terms of gender, race, sexuality, or even religion.
But I was unaware of the massive ideological changes that had taken place on college campuses in the decade since I had graduated. Arriving as a chaplain at a progressive secular college with traditional views of what a liberal arts education in the humanities was about, I thought it meant exploring different ways of being, and weighing different narratives by bringing them into conversation with one another. I saw religion as another identity to be explored and therefore essential to a student’s experience and self-definition. I also considered the study of comparative religions and the presence of religion on campus as elements of a true multiculturalism.
The two heads of the chaplaincy program were both ordained Protestant ministers, but they tended to focus on Eastern and New Age style offerings, from qigong and zen meditation to queer spirituality, yoga, and tarot card nights in the chapel. Although I was passionate about pluralism and often attended the events of other groups, I believed, as a Roman Catholic woman, that I had something distinctive and important to contribute to our students’ explorations of the varieties of religious life. Specifically, I saw myself and the other part-time Coordinator of Jewish Life as resources for students who wanted to explore what was curiously called “Western spirituality.” If students were interested in learning to make candles for Advent or in reading Pope Francis’s encyclical on climate change, they came to me. Students of many faiths or no faith took part. We had many agnostics who loved ritual and fellowship with others in the group. It was pleasant for the students to be a part of a community that wasn’t dedicated to résumé building. We prayed Lectio Divina and cooked dinner together. The Catholic community was more like a family, a family that reflected the ethnic and racial diversity of the global church.
But liberalism’s commitment to that kind of pluralism has been eroded by what the writer Wesley Yang calls “the successor ideology.” Rooted in the critical race theory of the Ibram X. Kendi and Robin DiAngelo school, this ideology is far less of tolerant of Jewish kids gathering for Shabbat or Catholic kids for Mass. Under the influence of this form of ideological thinking, students were coming to view religious services or religious observance as part of the structure of “white supremacy.”
When I first began to encounter this pernicious form of intolerant group-think, I was a bit incredulous. A “spiritual but not religious” student who sometimes came to Catholic community events wearing her “I support Planned Parenthood” pin told me, “It’s taboo to explore Western spirituality, especially in liberal circles. I’m careful who I tell about it.” She was not alone. Other students asked me not to take photos of Mass and post them on social media. They didn’t want to be “outed” as Catholic. One Catholic student who lost her faith and then found it again told me, “When I stopped being a Catholic I made so many friends.” The notion that a person couldn’t engage with a religious tradition without endorsing every one of its views (or claims) was new to me.
You have to read the whole thing. This is where progressivism is taking us: to a place where even liberal Catholics are suppressed in the name of fighting white supremacy, or whatever goal the fanatical left embraces. It is now beginning to look like the only people capable of resisting the radicalism of the woke left are those who are more or less reactionary — this in politics, as well as religion. I think of the people I’ve talked to here who have grown weary of government by Viktor Orban and his Fidesz Party, but who tell me there really are no other alternatives — that the Hungarian Left is as utopian and as fanatical as their counterparts in the US. A Hungarian I met the other day is setting up a meeting for me with someone from the other side, so I can hear what they have to say. The fact, though, that the left-wing Budapest city government erected a Black Lives Matter/LGBT Statue of Liberty as a protest against the Orban government is not a good sign.