CHUR, Switzerland – A group of priests from the Swiss diocese of Chur have raised concerns about a new code of conduct for the prevention of assaults, saying it violates “the doctrine and discipline of the Catholic Church” to several occasions.
The clerics described the diocesan code as an attempt “to implant LGBT ideology in the Church under the guise of preventing abuse, thereby undermining the Church’s doctrine of faith.” reported CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner.
In a letter to all parishes seen by CNA Deutsch, the bishop said the code will be “binding for all leaders and employees from the middle of 2022.” The declaration of commitment would then be kept in the personal file.
The group of priests pointed out that “95% of what is contained in the code of conduct regarding prevention, we consider it an expression of common sense and decency”.
They said that it was “absolutely necessary to do everything possible to ensure better prevention and to pursue with determination this concern in the Church. We too will do this to the best of our abilities. »
The circle of priests of Chur is responsible for organizing local opposition to the code. The clerics quoted several passages which, they said, would “muzzle the doctrine of faith and morals.”
According to the code, priests must agree with the following sentence: “I refrain from sweeping away negative evaluations of allegedly unbiblical behavior based on sexual orientation.”
The Circle of Priests said: “Anyone who signs this sentence would no longer be permitted – even invoking the overriding fundamental right of religious freedom – to proclaim the teaching of the Church on homosexuality as set out in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.”
The Catechism said that homosexual acts are “inherently disordered” and “in no way can they be approved of”.
The new code of conduct also says, “In pastoral conversations, I do not actively bring up topics related to sexuality. In any case, I refrain from asking offensive questions about intimate life and relationship status. This also applies to the conversations I have as a supervisor.
An agreement on this point would prohibit priests and deacons from asking the obligatory questions in the preparation for marriage, the group of priests affirmed, as if the future spouses “accept marriage as a ‘sacramental community of life and love between a man and a woman’ for their own lives.”
In addition, “explicit questions should be asked about ‘relationship status’ with respect to previous marriages and divorces or concerning children from previous relationships.”
The code would make it impossible to enforce existing standards not only in marriage but also in the training of priests, the priests argued. Thus, it would no longer be possible to adequately ensure that men with homosexual tendencies are not ordained.
Further, the Circle of Priests asked, “How can a candidate for the priesthood still be credibly required to engage ‘in the rite publicly prescribed before God and the Church’ in celibacy at life (cannon 1037) if at the same time it is declared that his “relationship status” is in fact taboo for Church leaders? »
Finally, he said: “If priests, deacons and lay employees who live in immoral heterosexual or homosexual relationships can no longer be called to account and, if there is no improvement, fired of the ministry of the Church, a double standard is installed in two ways. ”
On the one hand, the clergy group said, the Church would continue to adhere to traditional teaching in its preaching, but on the other hand, it would not require it of its clergy and laity.
With the code of conduct, priests and others involved in pastoral care would declare that “I abstain from any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity” and “I recognize sexual rights as human rights, in particular the right to sexual self-determination. ”
The Church’s consistent application of sexual morality is “perceived as discriminatory by certain parts of society”, wrote the Chur Circle of Priests. This is the case, for example, because the Church cannot bless homosexual relationships. The only concern of the Church is “to be able to act in accordance with its eternal doctrine, by invoking the first fundamental right of religious freedom recognized and guaranteed by the State”.
The code’s statement on human rights is “open to various interpretations” but must ultimately be rejected because, for example, abortion is often referred to as a human right and part of sexual self-determination, have explained the priests.
Beyond Bishop Bonnemain’s comment that the code is binding, the text itself does not seem to exclude labor law consequences. Thus, he said, “A refusal to sign shows massive quality deficits in thinking ability, as the person tends to make evasive judgments or does not sufficiently share concern for prevention. Further cooperation is not desirable.
“In existing employment relationships, the code of conduct is signed no later than the [staff meeting]“, continued the code.
Switzerland, officially known as the Swiss Confederation, is a landlocked nation in Central Europe of approximately 8.6 million people, 37% of whom are Catholic. The country is a federal republic made up of 26 cantons.
In Switzerland, priests, as well as full-time employees of the Church, are generally employed by cantonal bodies under public law financed by church taxes. The dioceses, as ecclesiastical structures, depend directly on Rome but are only financially responsible for a few employees.
The Chur Circle of Priests said: “We asked the diocesan bishop as the publication of the code of conduct approached not to sign it. Since he has published and signed it in the meantime, we are now publicly asking him, on our side, to withdraw his signature from the code of conduct and thus remedy the conflict of conscience that he has caused for many of his employees.
Otherwise, the clerics said, they “would themselves develop a code of conduct in the service of the prevention of abuse that is in harmony with the teaching of the Church and which we are ready to sign.”