PHILADELPHIA, February 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – An influential archbishop in the United States has issued a strong warning after Germany’s leading cardinal endorsed the idea of introducing a formal rite of “blessing” for homosexual couples.
Archbishop Charles Chaput says a “blessing rite” such as that proposed by Munich Cardinal Reinhard Marx would “undermine the Catholic witness” on marriage and “wound” the unity of the Church.
“The imprudence of such public statements is—and should be—the cause of serious concern,” the archbishop of Philadelphia wrote in his weekly column on Tuesday. “It requires a response because what happens in one local reality of the global Church inevitably resonates elsewhere—including eventually here.”
Cardinal Marx has become one of the most influential prelates under Pope Francis. He serves on the council of nine cardinals who are advising the Pope on Church reform. He is president of the German bishops’ conference, and president of the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community.
Marx’s comments came in a radio interview February 3.
He said the Church should give “closer pastoral care” to homosexuals, and “encourage priests and pastoral workers to give people in concrete situations [of homosexual unions] encouragement. I do not really see any problems there.”
“How this would be done publicly, in a liturgical form,” is “another question,” he said. “That is where one has to be reticent and also reflect upon that in a good way.”
When the interviewer asked if this could involve a formal “blessing,” the cardinal said “yes.”
Last month, the vice president of the German bishops’ conference, Bishop Franz-Josef Bode, initiated the public discussion of these “blessings,” describing same-sex unions as “positive and good.”
Chaput does not name any individual prelates in his column, but the reference is clear.
“Over the past few weeks, a number of senior voices in the leadership of the Church in Germany have suggested (or strongly implied) support for the institution of a Catholic blessing rite for same-sex couples who are civilly married or seeking civil marriage,” the archbishop wrote.
The problem, he says, is that “any such ‘blessing rite’ would cooperate in a morally forbidden act, no matter how sincere the persons seeking the blessing.”
“Such a rite would undermine the Catholic witness on the nature of marriage and the family. It would confuse and mislead the faithful. And it would wound the unity of our Church, because it could not be ignored or met with silence,” he added.
To institute such a blessing “effectively encourages them in that state—in this case, same-sex sexual unions.”
“There is no love—no charity—without truth, just as there is no real mercy separated from a framework of justice informed and guided by truth,” he writes. “Creating confusion around important truths of our faith, no matter how positive the intention, only makes a difficult task more difficult.”
Read Archbishop Chaput’s full column here.