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German bishops: 'Homosexuality is normal, immutable and no reason for discrimination'

Homosexuality is a normal expression of human sexuality, cannot be changed or cured and therefore gays and lesbians should not be discriminated against either. So writes the German Bishops' Conference in a press release following a study session with experts in preparation for a church conference on sexuality and relationship formation in February 2020.

The Commission on Marriage and Family of the German Bishops' Conference, headed by Berlin Archbishop Heiner Koch, organized this seminar on Church sexual morality on Dec. 4 at the Institute for Christian Ethics and Politics in Berlin. Also participating in the meeting were bishops Franz-Josef Bode of Osnabrück, Wolfgang Ipolt of Görlitz and Peter Kohlgraf of Mainz, as well as several auxiliary bishops and by sexologists, moral theologians, dogmatists and church lawyers. The theme of the meeting was "Human sexuality: how to speak about it scientifically-theologically and judge ecclesiastically.

The bishops and experts who attended the seminar noted that human sexuality includes a dimension of pleasure and relationship. "It was also agreed that a person's sexual orientation manifests itself during puberty and assumes a heterosexual or homosexual orientation," the press release reads. "Both are part of the normal forms of sexual disposition that cannot or should not be altered."

According to the seminar participants, therefore, lesbians and gays should also not be discriminated against. They emphatically refer to Amoris Laetitia, the document Pope Francis released in 2016 following the international synod of bishops on the family, marriage and sexuality.

The conference also addressed the question of whether the Church's ban on same-sex sexual relations should still be in effect. No ruling was made on that, however.

The seminar was held as part of the so-called Synodal Way, the reform process through which the German Roman Catholic Church intends to renew itself following the abuse scandals that have become public in recent years. In this reform process, prelates, priests, theologians, but above all the faithful themselves, are entering into a debate with each other on topics such as celibacy, ecclesiastical power, the role of women in the Church and Catholic sexual morality.

The results of the seminar will be used at the synodal conference "Living in Successful Relationships - Living in Love Living in Sexuality and Partnership" in February.

[Source/Illustration: German Bishops' Conference]

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