German diocese approves self-identified transgender man to teach religion to children


The German diocese allows a self-identified transgender man to teach religion to children.

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Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany, April 8, 2022 / 10:28 a.m. (CNA).

A German diocese has defended its decision to grant a biological woman who identifies as a transgender man permission to teach the Catholic religion to schoolchildren, amid concerns whether it is trying to circumvent canon law and the teaching of the Catholic Church on sexual morality.

“I can confirm that Mr. Theo Schenkel has obtained a permanent teaching license for Catholic religious education in public schools,” a spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Freiburg told CNA on April 7.

Since canon law prevented the trainee teacher from receiving the required Missio Canonica from the bishop, the diocese said it issued the teacher an “unlimited teaching permit,” signed by the vicar general. The diocese and the public school authority consider this authorization sufficient for Schenkel to teach Catholic religion classes, media reported.

However, the affair could still create further problems, Schenkel told local media in February, given the teacher and a female companion’s wedding plans. It would be considered same-sex marriage by the Catholic Church, Schenkel told a regional newspaper. According to media reports, the trainee teacher had started studying French and Catholicism while still living as a heterosexual woman and in a relationship with a man.

In response to an email request from CNA Deutsch, the diocese said the decision to allow the identifying trans man to teach the Catholic religion was made solely for that person’s individual case.

Asked how this might comply with canon law and employment regulations, the diocese told CNA that “Church labor laws are currently being reworked by German bishops.”

A number of German dioceses have already announced that they no longer prevent LGBT identification staff from working for the Church. These announcements follow a day of defiance against the Vatican by priests and pastoral workers blessing same-sex unions in Germany on May 10, 2021. It also follows the high-profile campaign “Out in Church”, an initiative supported by a documentary aired in prime time. by the German public media. Theo Schenkel was one of the people featured in the film.

The campaign was praised by Bishop Helmut Dieser of Aachen on behalf of the German Bishops’ Conference in a video to mark the occasion.

This initiative also issued a “manifesto” which called for, among other things, “a change in the church’s discriminatory labor laws”.

In February, participants in the German “Synodal Way” voted in favor of draft documents calling for the blessing of the same sex and the revision of Catholic teaching on homosexuality.

In the same month, another prominent European Church leader, Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, SJ, was interviewed by the German Catholic news agency KNA about how he treated “Church teaching according to which homosexuality is a sin”.

He replied, “I think that’s wrong. But I also believe that we are thinking about the future in the doctrine here. The way the pope has spoken in the past can lead to a change in doctrine. Because I believe that the sociological-scientific foundation of this teaching is no longer correct.

Hollerich, the Archbishop of Luxembourg, will play a central role in the upcoming synod on synodality in Rome, as general rapporteur. He is also President of the Commission of Episcopal Conferences of the European Union (COMECE).

The Catechism, which Pope John Paul II has described as “a sure standard for the teaching of the faith”, says: “Based on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of gross depravity, the tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are inherently disordered”. .” They are contrary to natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a true affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

As the Catechism explains, “The number of men and women who have deep homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, objectively disordered, constitutes for the majority of them a test. They must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity.”

He continues: “Any signs of unjust discrimination against them must be avoided. These people are called to accomplish the will of God in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter because of their condition.


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