A Catholic parish in Germany has hoisted a 8-metre-high rainbow banner to show that LGBT+ people “can be at home in our church”.

– Rainbow “a sign of God’s unbreakable loyalty to the covenant, which applies to all people”

Father Hubertus Krampe, parish priest in the south of Münster, spoke to diocesan website Kirche+Leben August 18 to explain the decision to hang the banner from the belltower of the Heilig-Geist-Kirche (“Holy Spirit Church”), one of the churches of which he has the care of souls.

Krampe said the show of support came about in the first place because an ecumenical group of Münster LGBT+ Christians meets for services in one of the centres of his parish of St. Joseph Münster-South, to which the Holy Spirit Church belongs, on the second Sunday of every month.

But beyond that, the priest explained that the local church wanted to get behind Münster Pride Week – to be celebrated from August 20 – and the city’s Christopher Street Day August 30.

“The rainbow flag is a threefold symbol”, Krampe said.

“On the one hand, the rainbow is a sign of God’s unbreakable loyalty to the covenant, which applies to all people – regardless of age, form of life, biological or social gender, culture…

“On the other hand, it is the flag of the LGBTIQ community in its colourful diversity.

“And thirdly, it is now standing at our church tower to ensure that the Catholic Church is also flying its flag. Just as the church tower is a man-made sign from God: we have to extend our ideas about God – then we can also extend our ideas about people”, the priest said.

– Parish as a whole “proud” of history of outreach to LGBT+ community

Krampe went on to reveal with regard to displaying the rainbow banner on the Holy Spirit church tower that “it was important to us as a congregation that the queer people who live in Münster and the surrounding area can also be at home in our church”.

“We consciously follow this path of openness, which is expressly supported by the parish council”, the priest continued.

Krampe said the St. Joseph’s parish outreach to the LGBT+ community has been going on since at least 2018, when the Holy Spirit Church hosted a Rainbow Centre for queer guests attending a lay-run Catholics’ Day.

“We are proud of this – it was a wonderful experience”, the priest said of his parish’s involvement in that Catholics’ Day.

– “I wish for such an open Church that LGBT+ services would no longer be necessary”

As for the events St. Joseph’s parish and the Holy Spirit Church community have planned for Pride Week and Christopher Street Day, priest Krampe said the celebrations would begin Tuesday August 17, when the church was due to hold a small, informal service for the queer community in the Holy Spirit Church “to place ourselves under God’s blessing”.

Krampe said another service has been organised at the church at 6pm on Christopher Street Day August 30.

But for all his positivity about the outreach to LGBT+ community, the priest couldn’t hide his disappointment.

“I wish for such an open Church that such services for certain groups in our community would no longer be necessary”, he reflected.

The rainbow banner on the Holy Spirit church (Urs van Wulfen/Kirche+Leben)
The rainbow banner on the Holy Spirit church
(Urs van Wulfen/Kirche+Leben)

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