January 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the head of the German Bishops' Conference, stated in a recent interview that homosexuals belong to the Church’s “sacramental community” and has defended “blessing” homosexual couples.
On December 23, 2019, Cardinal Marx gave an interview to the German magazine Der Stern in which he said: “I insist: we welcome homosexuals, they belong to the Church, also to the sacramental community.”
Marx said that homosexual couples can receive “a blessing in the sense of a pastoral accompaniment, we can pray together.”
The expression “sacramental community” means here that, according to Marx, homosexuals are not excluded from receiving the sacraments. However, the Church's teaching is that those who live in the state of mortal sin without the intention to change their way of life are indeed to be excluded from the sacraments.
Cardinal Marx did not further differentiate his statement in the interview with Der Stern.
He went on to tell Der Stern that he had already spoken on the topic of homosexuality at the Synod of Bishops on the Family (either in 2014 or in 2015): “When people in a homosexual relationship are loyal to one another over years, are available to one another, and even take care of each other until death; then we as Church cannot make a bracket around this entire life, placing a minus sign in front of it and say that all of this has no worth because it takes place in a homosexual relationship.”
The German prelate adds that he has received for these words “much criticism from certain parts.”
Vatican News, a media outlet run by the Vatican, titled its report on this interview: “Marx: homosexual couples can receive blessing.”
However, right in the lead, Vatican News differentiates his words by adding that he stated that these couples' relationship “cannot be a marriage-like relationship.” Marx had explained that marriage is for “a man and a woman, with openness for having children.”
On February 3, 2018, Cardinal Marx caused a stir with an interview in which he stated that the question of a blessing for homosexual couples should be placed into the care of the local priest, thus not explicitly ruling out such a blessing as a possibility. However, a few weeks later he denied having supported the idea of such a blessing, adding “that there also can be spiritual encouragement; [but] about a blessing of homosexual couples, and even a public one, I did not speak at all.”
However, Cardinal Marx then also referred to an episcopal commission in Germany that was then discussing this matter of a blessing of homosexual couples, and this matter is now also part of the German “Synodal Path” that is already underway in Germany, with the official discussions to be starting soon, on January 30. One of the four discussion forums aims at questioning the Church's teaching on homosexuality, and the main architect of this forum – Professor Eberhard Schockenhoff – explicitly proposes to approve of such relationships.
Not long ago, the Vice President of the German Bishops' Conference, Bishop Franz-Josef Bode, wrote a foreword to a book promoting the idea of blessing homosexual couples in the Catholic Church. He also had proposed to discuss publicly a possible blessing for homosexual couples. He first did so in January of 2018 and then again at the end of December, 2019.
Several well-informed sources in Germany told LifeSiteNews that such a blessing is actually already being prepared for the Catholic Church in Germany.
In his Der Stern interview, Cardinal Marx himself also covered different other topics, among them being his openness toward the possibility of ordaining married men to the priesthood. He also told Der Stern that Pope Francis told him in person that the door to the female priesthood is definitely closed, but that, despite this, the Cardinal still insists upon discussing it. “But the discussion is not closed,” is what Cardinal Marx has responded to Pope Francis when the Pope told him of his own decision against female priests (“the door is closed.”).
When asked as to what God thinks about the fact that there are more than 100,000 abortions per year in Germany, many patchwork families, and much consumerism on Sundays, Cardinal Marx replied: “We should not be so bold as to claim: We know what God is thinking,” thereby echoing the words of Pope Francis, “who am I to judge?” when asked about a practicing homosexual priest.