125 German Catholic church officials have come out as LGBTQ+, queer, or non-binary in a letter on Monday, amid growing scandals in the church and calls for reform.
Agence France-Presse reports that the officials have published a statement that calls for an end to both “‘discrimination and exclusion” and a “system of concealment, double standards, and dishonesty” with regards to LGBTQ+ issues.
“Entering into a non-heterosexual relationship or marriage must never be considered a breach of loyalty and, consequently, an obstacle to employment or reason for dismissal,” the signatories added.
The signatories include members of the clergy as well as educational and administrative workers, Agence France-Presse reports.
The letter comes following a report last week that former Pope Benedict XVI had failed to act in four abuse cases while he was still archbishop in the Munich diocese. While the former pope has denied knowing about the cases, one of the report’s authors concluded that he “can be accused of misconduct” with regards to how he handled them.
The letter also comes at a time when the Church is torn between maintaining its traditional stance on social issues and embracing modernization. The current Pope Francis has signaled a more open-minded attitude toward homosexuality, even going so far as to endorse same-sex unions in a 2020 documentary, “Francesco.” However, he has also been critical of gender fluidity and gender theory, which he called “a great enemy of marriage” while giving a talk to a small group of Catholics in the country of Georgia in 2016.
In March of last year, the Vatican issued a decree that denied bestowing sacramental blessings on same-sex unions, as they are not recognized by the church.