According to AP, the ceremony was punctuated by people singing the Beatles’ song “All You Need Is Love” while waving rainbow flags.
Such stunts, covered extensively by the media, are a challenge to Woelki. The Cologne archbishop has reprimanded a priest over blessing same-sex unions, emphasizing that such events are not possible, as explained by the Vatican.
This admonishment drew sharp criticism from Birgit Mock, vice president of the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK), who labeled Woelki’s actions “beyond incomprehensible.” Mock, who also heads the Synodal Way’s working group on sexuality, has been a staunch advocate for blessing same-sex unions, putting her at odds with Woelki and the official Vatican stance.
Adding fuel to the fire, Bishop Georg Bätzing of Limburg, the president of the German Bishops’ Conference, on Sept. 14 criticized Woelki for having “lost acceptance” with people, CNA Deutsch reported.
Addressing Pope Francis’ criticism of the German Synodal Way, in which the pontiff said Germany does not need two Protestant churches, Bätzing said that he could, in principle, tolerate contradiction. But, “I find the Protestant thing disrespectful; I disagreed. [Pope Francis] also accuses us of being elitist, by which he means the theologians. However, we are envied for [German theologians] in the universal Church.”