It begins with the love story of Maria and Elizabeth – at the main altar of all places. A spark appeared between the two acolytes. In the weeks and months that followed, the churchman praised her as “our most faithful acolyte,” writes Maria. “And my mother said,” Oh, oh, if he only knew … ”
Back then, she didn’t understand the objection at all. “Today I know how much strength and energy goes into creating a place for love between men and men, women and women in the church.”
The book was written as part of the Synodal Path Catholic Reform Dialogue
Maria Fixemer, born in 1991, wrote the first article for the newly published book, Katholisch und Queer – and like other lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, inter, non-binary and queer people, they recorded their painful experiences with the church.
Her conclusion: “I often no longer understand this church, which is somehow mine as well, in its small steps and its often harmful and dangerously hypocritical attitude to the question of who is allowed whom to love.”
The book, published by Bonifatius Verlag, was written as part of the Synodal Path Catholic Reform Dialogue. The publishing trio Mirjam Gräve, Hendrik Johannemann and Mara Klein met for the first time at the forum on sexuality and partnership there. All three were called to the Synod Forum because of their commitment to combating discrimination against queer people in the Catholic Church. Last year, they called on queer people to share their personal experiences in the church. They filled 304 pages with many reactions and statements from the official Church, theology, and the ministry.
[Mehr Neuigkeiten aus der queeren Welt gibt es im monatlichen Queerspiegel-Newsletter des Tagesspiegel – hier geht es zur Anmeldung.]
Even the headlines reflect the experiences of disfellowshipping: “I fell out of church into a bottomless pit” – “I had to leave my homeland” – “I prayed that God would make me heterosexual” – “They think I’m sick” – “The church broke up with me” – and so on .
A mother tells of a conversation with her gay son: How can she regularly attend mass when the Church constantly declares homosexuality a sin? His answer: Faith is greater than such discussions and does not apply “to all ecclesiastical circles equally.”
Bishop: The Church has “misjudged people” for centuries
The book itself is proof of this. The Bishop of Essen, Franz-Josef Overbeck, and his counterpart in Dresden, Heinrich Timmerevers, made their guest contribution, reiterating their demands that the Catholic Church further develop its sexual morality. According to the teaching of the Church, sex life is permitted only in a marriage between a man and a woman.
Timmerevers describes how he met members of the Christian-gay-lesbian Stammtisch Dresden in 2019. “To my surprise, there were a few familiar faces. Some I knew from the service in the cathedral.
The meeting made him wonder if the teaching of the Catholic Church should be rethought. His answer: homosexual relationships, transgender people and diversity should be reassessed based on new discoveries in sexology. For centuries the church has “misjudged people” and “de facto marginalized them,” the bishop said. “Here we did wrong and we were guilty as well.”
Overbeck is against “adherence to sexual morality, which, for example, would like to practically deny people who love same-sex people the possibility of a successful and satisfying relationship.” These are completely different tones than some ten years ago on the ARD show “Anne Will” in which he described homosexuality as a sin.
“I was deeply moved by the life experiences and deep feelings of homosexual or transgender people,” Overbeck notes in a new book. Merely repeating the Church’s teaching on homosexuality only leads to offended people turning away from it. Maria Fixemer stayed because the “old feeling” of belonging is “still there”. (Andreas Otto / KNA)