Cardinal calls for Vatican rebuke over sexuality remarks

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ROME — Cardinal George Pell has asked the Vatican’s office of doctrine to intervene and rebuke two leading European Catholic clerics who have called for changes in Catholic teaching on sexuality and homosexuality.

Pell, who was convicted and later acquitted of sex abuse charges in his native Australia, said he understood secular pressures in Germany were forcing debate on homosexuality and other burning issues in the church. But in an interview with KTV, the German Catholic television agency, Pell said the church cannot keep up with “the changing dictates of contemporary secular culture” and must remain true to its faith.

Pell was referring to recent comments on sexuality by Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich of Luxembourg, president of the Commission of Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union and head of the German bishops’ conference that have arisen within the framework of the German Church. “synodal path” of debate and dialogue with the laity.

Hollerich said he believes the church’s current teaching on homosexuality is “no longer correct” and not based on science. In an interview with the German news agency KNA, he called for a “fundamental revision of doctrine”, noting that Francis’ own awareness of homosexuals could pave the way for change.

Separately, the head of the German bishops’ conference, Bishop Georg Baetzing, told German magazine Bunte that Catholic teaching needs to change vis-à-vis sexuality and premarital sex since no one is following it. When asked if homosexual relations were allowed, the German Prelate replied, “Yes, it is OK if it is done in fidelity and responsibility. It does not affect the relationship with God.”

He also indicated that he was in favor of the abolition of priestly celibacy and the ordination of women – two things that the Vatican flatly rejected but which were approved in the German synodal process.

Pell, who was the Vatican’s top finance minister before he left in 2017 to stand trial in Australia, called on the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to intervene and pass judgment on the ‘total and explicit rejection’ of the teachings. of the church on homosexuality and monogamous marriage, in an unusual bashing of a fellow cardinal and bishop.

“The Catholic Church is not a loose federation where different synods or national gatherings and prominent leaders are able to discard essential elements of apostolic tradition and sit still,” a statement summarizing Pell’s points said. “This must not become a normal and tolerated situation.”

The Vatican has not commented on any of these statements, although it has expressed concern about the German synodal process.

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