I caught wind of the following story via Facebook last night, dug into it a little more via Veneremur Cernui, and then decided to translate it. I need the practice, and I think it’s topical enough. What especially struck Veneremur is the image that was posted, on an official Vatican media outlet, for the story:
I just checked the page again, and, interestingly enough, the photo has been replaced with what I think is a picture of Bishop Ackermann:
Rorate has documented all this, so I’m just left wondering, what’s that again about how inert and obtuse the Vatican media engine is? Just how many lobbies can truly coexist in the Vatican?
Homosexuality must not be “healed” – 17 July 2014 – Radio Vatikan
Stephan Ackermann, bishop of Trier, is critical of proposals to “heal” homosexuality. There is no ecclesial backing for such initiatives, Ackermann said Wednesday evening in Saabrücken. Not long ago the periodical “Die Zeit” included a report on doctors who advertise being able to change one’s sexual orientation, an approach regarded as a “secret trick” in strongly Christian circles. Ackermann made his statements at a roundtable discussion which was organized by the Lesbian and Gay Union of Saar (LSVD). About one hundred persons were in attendance. The two-hour meeting was the first of its kind in Germany. Similar discussions had taken place, on a smaller scale, with gay and lesbian representatives, for example in the diocese of Essen and in the archdiocese of Berlin for the run-up to Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Germany in 2011.
Church’s labor-rights regulations in dispute
Questions about the Church’s stance on sexuality and labor rights held a central place in the meeting in Saarbrücken. One central theme concerned the so-called loyalty oaths [or, morality clauses], according to which church employees who wished to legally register being in a homosexual relationship should not be surprised if their contracts were terminated. The LSVD issued the “Saarbruck Appeal” to ask Ackermann to publicly declare “that those employed by the Catholic Church in his diocese would not have to fear loss of employment on account of being in a registered partnership.” This should at least hold for “non-confessional professions” such as doctors and nurses in Catholic hospitals.
Ackermann asked for understanding, as the loyalty oaths perform an important institutional function in the Church. At the same time he broached a “tension” in some spheres that “is not good.” The bishops are holding intensive discussions about how the loyalty oaths should be implemented in the future. Ackermann said that the discussion in Saabrücken was “honest,” and that he is “all ears” to foster greater mutual understanding on controversial issues. The organizers emphasized their commitment to building bridges and meeting each other in conversation. It’s an open question where the dialogue goes from here.