The German Catholic bishops’ conference has issued a statement declaring homosexuality to be just as “normal” as heterosexuality while adding that adultery can no longer be considered a “serious sin.”
Both the homosexual and heterosexual orientation “belong to the normal forms of a sexual predisposition that cannot and should not be changed by any specific socialization,” the Dec. 5 communiqué stated.
The bishops embraced the findings of a study group on sexual morality chaired by Berlin Archbishop Heiner Koch, which will form a starting point for the “Synodal Way of the Church” in Germany to rethink Catholic teachings and praxis for the present day.
“There was agreement that the sexual preference of humans is expressed during puberty and assumes a heterosexual or homosexual orientation,” the statement reads.
Since one’s sexual orientation is unchangeable, “in church thinking, this means that any form of discrimination against homosexuals must be rejected, as has long been required by the magisterium and is also explicitly emphasized by Pope Francis in the post-synodal letter Amoris Laetitia,” the bishops note.
There was, however, no consensus on “whether the magisterial ban on homosexual practice is still opportune,” the bishops declare.
The communiqué also called for an update regarding Church teaching on adultery, declaring that “a sexual relationship after divorce and remarriage is no longer qualified as a serious sin and thus no general exclusion from the reception of the Eucharist is foreseen,” stating that such a conclusion is “supported by humanities and theology” as well as by “developments that are already apparent in Amoris laetitia.”
The findings of the meeting, sponsored by the Bishops’ Commission for Marriage and Family to deal with issues of sexual morality, will be used to update the Church’s teaching staff on sexual morality, the communique revealed.
Along with Archbishop Heiner Koch, several other bishops participated in the consultation, including Osnabrück Bishop Franz-Josef Bode, Bishop Wolfgang Ipolt of Görlitz, Bishop Peter Kohlgraf of Mainz, and several suffragan bishops from the Faith and Family Commissions, who discussed issues of sexual morality with sexologists, moral theologians, dogmatists, and canon lawyers.
“The results of the expert consultation will feed into the Forum of the Synodical Way ‘Living in Successful Relationships — Living Love in Sexuality and Partnership,’ which will start work in February 2020,” the text concludes.