Priest sacked for blessing lesbian couple

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

A Swiss priest has been dismissed after blessing a lesbian couple, saying: “Why shouldn’t you bless a couple that wants to walk together with God?”

Swiss priest Wendelin Bucheli has to leave his parish in Uri, a canton in Switzerland, after blessing a lesbian couple in October 2014 because it “caused a stir” across borders.

The blessing was said to “not differ very much from a wedding” despite Catholic teachings forbidding the blessing of gay couples.

Vitus Huonder, the Bishop of Chur, dismissed Bucheli from his post. He will have to leave his post by the summer and be reassigned.

Huonder’s spokesperson told Swiss newspaper NZZ am Sonntag: “His actions caused a stir across national borders and angered many believers,” and added Bucheli’s actions “removed clarity from the Church’s teaching on marriage and family.”

After the blessing Huonder defended his choice, saying that blessings are given to everything else except gay couples.

He told a Swiss newspaper “Today, animals, cars and even weapons are blessed- why shouldn’t you also bless a couple that wants to walk together with God?”

Bucheli has said that he doesn’t agree with the form of old Catholicism practised in the town, he feels priest blessings are viewed as a kind of “white magic”.

Huonder’s spokesperson commented: “Pastor Bucheli has deliberately acted against the teaching of the Church.”