Priests from some 100 German Catholic churches are offering blessings to gay couples. They are part of the Love Wins movement, which emerged in March after the Church said God "cannot bless sin".
Thousands of German priests and church employees have also signed a statement calling on the Church to extend blessings to same-sex couples, while some parishes have also displayed rainbow flags outside churches.
"In view of the refusal of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to bless homosexual partnerships, we raise our voices and say: We will continue to accompany people who enter into a binding partnership in the future and bless their relationship," the statement says. "We do not refuse a blessing ceremony. We do this in our responsibility as pastors, who promise people at important moments in their lives the blessings that God alone gives. We respect and value their love, and we also believe that God's blessings are on them."
The Catholic Church in Germany is more liberal and wealthy than many other countries and the increasingly vocal acceptance of gay couples will be hard for the Vatican to ignore. The Bishop of Limburg and head of the German Bishops' Conference told he didnot like the Vatican's ruling against same-sex blessings.
Same-sex marriage has been legal in Germany since 2017 and the country has also banned so-called "gay conversion therapy" for under-18s.
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