The Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Italy (CELI) which met in Rome at Villa Aurelia, from May 12th to 15th, has approved by a large majority a document which allows the blessing of hetero- and homosexual couples in non-traditional communion of life. The text reads that: “homosexuality is part of the expressions of sexuality and therefore represents a natural condition.” For this reason, “moral judgment on homosexuality cannot for any reason be justified.”
Synod President Christiane Groeben, who is leading the Commission working on the subject, said: “The blessing of non-traditional unions concerns either hetero- or homosexual couples. We believe in fact that the Church’s mission is to accompany Christians in their life path, listening to God’s Word and also observing social changes. And what we observe is that in the field of human relationships there is a plurality of communions of life, including homosexual relationships, lived in a responsible way and based on voluntariness, continuity and confidence towards which the Church has pastoral responsibilities that cannot be denied.”
The approved document differentiates marriage from blessing: a difference which does not diminish the importance of blessing which represents the loving gaze that God turns towards those starting a communion of life, regardless of their sexual attitudes. The text also defines three requirements for the blessing ceremony: one of the two partners must be Lutheran or belong to a sister Church; the approval of the local Church Council; the approval of the pastor in charge of the community.
CELI is a founding member of the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy (FCEI). Today CELI has about 7000 members in twenty local communities or groups.