Catholic Bishop Visits Homosexual and Lesbian Centre

He comes not as Bishop but as pilgrim to dialogue about the situation of homosexuals and lesbians in the Catholic Church who often feel marginalised and discriminated against. The dialogue was peaceful and directed towards facts. The reason that homosexuals and lesbians don’t leave the church is often professional as the Catholic Church is the biggest employee in the region of social work and carers.
For Bishop Ackermann, the visit was not a problem even though such an encounter does not happen everyday.”I believe that people were surprised when  I accepted the invitation but this was important to me”.

What have you learnt from the discussion?

“I had indicated that I would not come here just to drink a coffee and to take a breath of air but we had a serious discussion and there are matters that are thought provoking, not least the relationship between   homosexual and lesbian people and the Church. We know that this is not without tension having regard for the situation of the other and listening to each other respectfully, these are, for example, ideas which I take from here, for instance. It is the case that the Catholic Church is strong here in Trier and in the region of Trier- it is important to take real notice and to listen where there are pressure points and  it is possible people feel put on the defensive.

For many of those concerned, it is important to remain in the Church, associated with the hope of step by step removing discrimination and marginalisation.

 Representative of the centre- I was very happy he came to visit us and that he said that there were matters for the Church to thinkover. This was important. He went as far as his office allowed. The centre is not far from the Cathedral, a stone’s throw but the formal distance is still great.

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