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Over 100 German Catholics stage mass coming-out event to demand reform

by Kelly Valencia

Over 100 German Roman Catholic priests and employees have jointly come out as LGBT+.

During a special event on Monday, the 125 church officials signed a petition demanding church leaders to reform "outdated statements of Church doctrine" regarding sexuality and gender.

This adds pressure to an already struggling German Catholic Church which is facing criticism over reports of child sex abuse, including allegations of cases in which former pope Benedict XVI failed to act.

The LGBT+ group, which includes priests and workers in education and administration, want to see "free access to all pastoral vocations" and an end "to the discrimination and exclusion" they have experienced in the Catholic Church.

"Entering into a non-heterosexual relationship or marriage must never be considered a breach of loyalty and, consequently, an obstacle to employment or a reason for dismissal," they said.

The German Catholic Church has been at the forefront of attempts to reform the Church's stance on LGBTQ+ issues during the last few years. 

Earlier this year, the Vatican had to issue a document saying that the Church cannot bless same sex couples as priests in around 100 Catholic churches in the country offered the ceremony in defiance of Catholic law. 

At the time, the group said the Vatican's position was a "slap in the face for people around the world" while the Pope said "not intended to be a form of unjust discrimination, but rather a reminder of the truth of the liturgical rite". 

Although for some the Pope's stance on the issues is ambivalent, for Christopher Lamb, Vatican correspondent for catholic magazine, The Tablet, the Pontiff is trying to find a "gospel-based" approach to this issue. 

"He hasn't changed official Catholic teaching. But what he's done is he's emphasised the importance of inclusion and compassion. But he's doing that within the framework of traditional teaching. And that in itself is a shift," Lamb told Premier.  

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