Sunday, May 29

125 employees of the German Catholic Church come out of the closet


Correspondent in Berlin

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This Monday the #OutInChurch campaign kicks off in Germany, in which 125 employees of the Catholic Church will declare themselves homosexual for the first time in public, including religious, pastoral assistants, religious education teachers and administrators and with the help of a television program that will be broadcast tonight by the RDA public channel. The participants in this campaign denounce that they were afraid to publicly declare their sexual condition because it could lead to the loss of their job, a consequence that they hope to avoid by doing it en bloc. One of them is the 45-year-old priest Frank Kribber, assigned to the chaplaincy of a prison in Lower Saxony, who considers that “the bishops must be awakened so that they can no longer ignore the issue, if no one confesses openly, nothing will ever change in the church».

«For many years I refused the evidence because it was not allowed to be like that, because being like that was not normal and I tried to overcome it. As if there couldn’t be a gay priest. But over time I have understood that honesty with oneself and with others is more important than the consequences, “he declares in the program. “I do not want the Church, which is my Church, to continue looking the other way so as not to see the intense suffering of those affected,” he says.

“I haven’t left the Church yet because I care about the Church,” says campaign initiator Jens Ehebrecht-Zumsande, a gay religious education professor from Hamburg, “and because I don’t want to leave the interpretation of who is Catholic and who is Catholic.” not only to the conservatives: there is nothing wrong with me and I am not going to leave voluntarily ».

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“I lead a celibate life”

Jesuit Father Ralf Klein, Superior of the St. Blasien community, recounts his own experience in the documentary: “I lead a celibate life, so I don’t think my sexual orientation is really relevant, but I didn’t want to live without sincerity in the community and I revealed it long ago to my brothers; I held my breath after saying it to the assembly, but they responded with loving applause.

Most of the participants, however, are not religious, but rather full-time employees or volunteers who are subject to a particular work regime. This is, apart from the casuistry of particular stories, the key to revelation. Caritas Germany alone employs 600,000 people. The Catholic Church is, in fact, after the German state, the second largest employer of the country and, according to this documentary, incurs in open discrimination incompatible with German law. The Bishop of Aachen. Helmut Dieser, has also joined the campaign with statements in which he calls for a “different approach from the Church regarding homosexual people and a confession of guilt on the part of the institution, in addition to an intelligent and courageous reassessment of violence sexual”. “Homosexuals have been devalued and criminalized by the Church”, has declared in an interview published by Kölnische Rundschau, “now we must apologize and openly say that sexual orientation is a gift from God that should not be questioned, but guided in the footsteps of God.”

The launch of this campaign coincides with a delicate moment for the German Catholic Church. In addition to the Synodal Way, which continues to advance in the midst of great controversy, the consequences of the report on abuses recently published in Munich and which accuses Joseph Ratzinger of malpractice in the late 1970s have not yet been digested. “We hope that you will refrain from now on from continuing to use the papal address and its associated titles and insignia,” the “Maria 2.0” initiative has demanded. The lay association “We are Church” also calls for “moral responsibilities” and the Federation of German Catholic Youth of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising has published a letter in which it points out the need for “a paradigm shift” and an “indispensable change of system”.

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necessary church

In times of such tribulation, the president of the European People’s Party and member of the German Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Manfred Weber, has called for calm and recalled that “the Church is necessary in Germany.” «The Catholic Church needs profound reforms, the premise that only consecrated Christians are in charge must come to an end and it must be made clear that all believers have the same rights”, he stated, even referring to “rotten structures”, but recalling that “almost one in two Europeans is Catholic and none of them believes for himself, but within the Church». “The 200 million European Catholics need a Church as a credible authority for the faith, which will not be if it is frozen in the ritual of tradition or if it is leveled at a politically secular morality, but only if it stimulates an active faith.”

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