German priest calls homosexuality a sickness

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German priest calls homosexuality a sickness
Photo: DPA

A senior member of the church tasked with training new priests has come under fire for calling homosexuality "the consequence of a failed psychological development".


Father Romano Christen, the Director of the Bonn Collegium Albertinum and a part of the Cologne Archdiocese, made the comments to a group of people studying to enter the priesthood, reported RP Online.

Lay representatives of the church have called for the man to be replaced.

The trainer discussed therapies which he said could be conducted to counter homosexuality, although his lecture went on to say that these are not always successful.

The lecture stated that even if romantically expressed, homosexuality came from a “narcissistic search” for masculinity. 

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He also said that men with “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” could not be consecrated into the Vatican. 

‘Ideas from the 1950s and 1960s’

Tim Kurzbach, the lay representative of the Catholic Archdiocese of Cologne, told the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger newspaper that Christen’s ideas were insulting. 

“Anyone who says and thinks those kinds of things about homosexuals should be discredited from training young priests,” Kurzbach said. 

Stephan Goertz, a Catholic Moral Theologian from Mainz, told the Süddeutsche Zeitung that such comments represented the “moral theological and scientific state of the 1950s and 1960s”.

These ideas, Goertz says, are fuelled by “prejudices which are hard to bear for those affected — especially because they are denied to live in humanistic and decent relationships”. 

Part of the framework of becoming a priest?

Christens circulated a statement on Thursday, saying that he did not mean to unduly criticize members of the gay and lesbian community but was merely reflecting Catholic dogma on the topic 

“People with homosexual inclinations deserve respect and must not be degraded,” he said. 

“I try to view that (in homosexual relationships) people have taken on responsibility for each other, have pledged allegiance to each other and are there for each other — even if I myself cannot share such a life plan."

Instead, the statement reflected the binding and universal ideas of the Catholic Church with regard to the process of becoming a priest. 

Christens cited Cologne Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, who stated that homosexuality was a “violation of natural law”, reaffirming the belief of the Catholic Church that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. 

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