Loading...
Loading...
Click here if you don’t see subscription options
Australian Cardinal George Pell celebrates the White Mass for medical professionals and health care workers at the Diocese of Phoenix’s Virginia G. Piper Chapel in Phoenix Nov. 20, 2021. (CNS photo/Jeff Grant)

ROME (AP) — Cardinal George Pell has called for the Vatican’s doctrine office to intervene and reprimand two leading European Catholic churchmen who called for changes in Catholic teaching on sexuality and homosexuality.

Pell, who was convicted and then acquitted of sex abuse charges in his native Australia, said he understood the secular pressures in Germany were forcing debate about homosexuality and other hot-button issues in the church. But in an interview with KTV, the German Catholic television agency, Pell said the church cannot follow “the changing dictats of contemporary secular culture” and must stay true to its faith.

Cardinal Pell was referring to recent comments about sexuality by Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich of Luxembourg and Bishop Georg Baetzing, the head of the German bishops’ conference.

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

Hollerich has said he believes the current church 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 the doctrine,” noting that Francis’ own outreach to gays could pave the way for a change.

Separately, the head of the German bishops' conference, Bishop Georg Baetzing, told the German magazine Bunte that Catholic teaching needs to change vis-a-vis sexuality and pre-marital sex since no one follows it. Asked if same-sex relationships were permissible, the German prelate replied: “Yes, it’s OK if it’s done in fidelity and responsibility. It doesn’t affect the relationship with God.”

He also indicated he favored abolishing priestly celibacy and ordaining women — two things the Vatican has flatly rejected but have been endorsed 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 for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to intervene and pronounce judgement on the “wholesale and explicit rejection” of the church’s teachings on homosexuality and monogamous marriage, in an unusual dressing down of a fellow cardinal and bishop.

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

The Vatican has not commented on either statement though it has expressed concern about the German synodal process.

We don’t have comments turned on everywhere anymore. We have recently relaunched the commenting experience at America and are aiming for a more focused commenting experience with better moderation by opening comments on a select number of articles each day.

But we still want your feedback. You can join the conversation about this article with us in social media on Twitter or Facebook, or in one of our Facebook discussion groups for various topics.

Or send us feedback on this article with one of the options below:

We welcome and read all letters to the editor but, due to the volume received, cannot guarantee a response.

In order to be considered for publication, letters should be brief (around 200 words or less) and include the author’s name and geographic location. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

We open comments only on select articles so that we can provide a focused and well-moderated discussion on interesting topics. If you think this article provides the opportunity for such a discussion, please let us know what you'd like to talk about, or what interesting question you think readers might want to respond to.

If we decide to open comments on this article, we will email you to let you know.

If you have a message for the author, we will do our best to pass it along. Note that if the article is from a wire service such as Catholic News Service, Religion News Service, or the Associated Press, we will not have direct contact information for the author. We cannot guarantee a response from any author.

We welcome any information that will help us improve the factual accuracy of this piece. Thank you.

Please consult our Contact Us page for other options to reach us.

City and state/province, or if outside Canada or the U.S., city and country. 
When you click submit, this article page will reload. You should see a message at the top of the reloaded page confirming that your feedback has been received.

The latest from america

People pick through discarded produce at the central market for fruit and vegetables in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Friday, May 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
Argentina has been in a state of economic upheaval for years with two constants—a continuous increase in poverty and corresponding efforts by the Catholic Church to respond to that need.
Lucien ChauvinMay 20, 2024
A surefire way to lose your congregation is to start a homily with “In today’s Gospel reading,” says Thomas Groome. “The purpose of good preaching,” he says, “is to bring our lives to God and God to our lives.” A homilist’s job, then, is to facilitate a meaningful conversation between the two.
PreachMay 20, 2024
In an interview with Norah Jones April 24 on “60 Minutes,” Pope Francis clarified that “Fiducia Supplicans” didn’t allow blessings of “the union” but of “each person.”
Pope Francis accepts the offertory gifts during Pentecost Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican on May 19, 2023. (CNS photo/Lola Gomez)
The pope devoted his entire Pentecost homily to describing how the Holy Spirit works in the lives of Christians with both “power and gentleness.”
Gerard O’ConnellMay 19, 2024