Germany’s quiet Catholic rebellion on gay blessings and women preachers

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05/23/2021

The church bells fade away, the organ starts playing and Father Jan Korditschke walks up to the altar to say Mass. It all looks like a very ordinary Sunday Catholic service. But there’s a feeling of nervous anticipation in the air. Something very unusual is about to happen. Fr Korditschke says that anyone who would like to receive a blessing should stand up. Most of the congregation stand, including about a dozen same-sex couples. As harp music plays, the priest moves through the church, quietly asks those standing what they would like prayed for. Then he raises his hands over bowed heads and whispers an individual prayer. Many have tears in their eyes. That’s because for the lesbian and gay Catholics here, after a lifetime in the Church, this is the first time they have felt fully accepted. “It’s very painful and I notice how wounded I feel,” says Sangha, a practicing Catholic all her life, who’s here with Frieda, her partner of 25 years.

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