ZEIT: In fact, we thought now rather about the Catholic Congress. You were one of the few leading bishops who had put the reform movement on a footing. Is it a mistaken impression that there are bishops who have a fear of the laity?
Woelki: Three cardinals, the Nuncio, a total of 17 local bishops, there were quite a lot of the bishops at the Catholic Congress. By the way, even when compared to earlier days of the Catholic Congresses, as they told me, because it was my first!
ZEIT: The German lay people can be pretty brutal in comparison to the rest of the global church quite often compared.
Woelki: I see things differently. For me, those souls who are critical are first of all Christians who love their church and are concerned: they suffer from the church or from some of her positions, but they are in church, and they are fighting for their church. That it is very tiring to face up to all this as a bishop, I will not deny, yes.
ZEIT: From the Catholic Congress a statement is quoted that has given you a lot of trouble. You said about homosexual relationships: "I think it is conceivable that, where people take responsibility for each other, where they live in a stable homosexual relationship, that is to be regarded in a similar manner to heterosexual relationships," Do you stand by this?
Woelki: "You must be careful not to mark down someone in an unfair way (literal translation of German- official English translation Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided) says the Catechism about people who have homosexual tendencies. If I take that seriously, I do not view in homosexual relationships "a violation of natural law" view, as expressed in the Catechism. I try to also perceive that as people they always assume responsibility for one another, loyalty to each other and have promised to provide, even though I cannot share such a life plan. The life plan for which we stand as the Catholic Church is a sacramental marriage between a man and a woman who is open to the transmission of life. This is what I said at the Catholic Congress in Mannheim immediately before the statement you quoted. Final section soon but that is the end of the passage on homosexuality- next is about the call to disobedience in the German and Austrian churches.