Queer employees of German Catholic Church demand respect and visibility

25-01-2022

Central Europe

Lennart Nijenhuis, CNE.news

The Cologne Cathedral (l.) and the church Gross St Martin (r.) are seen in the background as a man hoists a rainbow flag, symbol of the gay and lesbian movement, on 30 June 2017 in Cologne, western Germany. Photo AFP, Oliver Berg

In a joint action, 125 employees of the Catholic Church in Germany have come out as queer and demanded an end to discrimination. Under the motto "Out in Church", they require, among others, a change in church labour law.

The signatories include priests, parish workers, teaching staff and church administration employees, German channel Deutschlandfunk writes. One of the co-initiators, Pastor Mönkebüscher from the city of Hamm, said it was not easy to bring 125 people together. It could be significantly more.

At the same time, Mönkebüscher made it clear that the Church was aware of homosexual or non-binary employees and was also relying on them. If they all stopped practising their profession, the Church and the health system would collapse.

Morals

One of "Out in Church" demands is that coming out should no longer be a reason for dismissal. In addition, defamatory statements on gender and sexuality should be deleted from church doctrine.

The coming out of the employees can have consequences under labour law – up to and including dismissal, German Domradio reports. This is because church employees enter loyalty obligations with their employment contracts. These stipulate that employees must live their lives by the Church's teachings on faith and morals.

TV documentary

The initiative is supported by numerous church associations, such as the Central Committee of German Catholics. The network calls on all LGBT people who work full-time or in an honorary capacity for the Catholic Church to join the initiative. Bishops are called upon to declare their support for the manifesto publicly.

The demands are not really new: Catholic sexual morality should be further developed based on new findings in the human sciences and theology, blessing ceremonies should also be held for same-sex couples, and sexual orientation should no longer be a problem for employment.

What is new, however, is the force with which they are being raised: 120 people came out on Monday evening in the TV documentary "Wie Gott sie schuf" (As God created them) on the German TV channel ARD and as part of the campaign "#OutInChurch – for a church without fear".

Chain

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