"A widely circulated photo from the lesbian ceremony over which Fr. Michael Kopp presided" "An Austrian diocese has confirmed that an Austrian priest presided over a church service for two women in a civil union. A series of photographs of Fr. Michael Kopp with two women in wedding clothes in a Catholic church in Austria have been making the rounds on social media since last week. A spokesman from the Diocese of Graz-Seckau has confirmed that Kopp indeed held a service for the women. 'The basic question is if homosexual people can feel themselves at home in the Church,' Thomas Stanzer told German Catholic news site kath.net this Monday. 'Family spiritual advisor Michael Kopp answered ‘yes’ to this question,' he continued. Stanzer said Father Kopp 'celebrated a liturgy of thanksgiving with two civilly married [sic] women who are both believing Christians and who had both found their way out of personal crises with the help of the Catholic Church.' The diocesan spokesman underscored that this was 'not a sacramental liturgy,' and quoted Pope Francis’ controversial encyclical Amoris Laetitia. 'Every person, regardless of sexual orientation, ought to be respected in his or her dignity and treated with consideration, while ‘every sign of unjust discrimination’ is to be carefully avoided, the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia (250) states,' Stanzer said... The photographs of the service, which very much resemble wedding pictures, were first posted to a Polish social media account... In one photograph the two women, one in a white wedding dress and the other in a white suit, light a candle together. In the next they hold hands as Kopp holds his hand over them in blessing. Another photo shows the women processing into the church together, preceded by two flower girls. Two beribboned chairs await them at the front of the church. Kopp is the pastor of St. Margaret’s Catholic Church in Wolfsburg, Austria who hitherto has been known best for his occasional cabaret acts. According to the Austrian Unkerkaerner newspaper, Kopp has written two cabaret shows since he was ordained in 1997. Previously a 'family pastor' in the Diocese of Gurk, Kopp has been with the Diocese of Graz-Seckau since January 2019. Kopp’s definition of 'family' includes both 'the root of every personal life existence' and also 'every form of relationship among people in the most diverse constellations of common life.'
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