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Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of Munich

AUGSBURG, Germany, July 19, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Reinhard Marx is more concerned about the Catholic Church apologizing for its inaction against previous German law prohibiting homosexuality than the country’s recent legalization of gay “marriage.”

The Munich cardinal, who is head of the German bishops’ conference and a member of Pope Francis’ Council of Cardinals, was decisive in saying he firmly upholds the Church’s teaching on marriage in a recent interview with Augsberger Algemeine.

But he criticized the Church for not being at the forefront on homosexual rights in Germany and said the Church must express regret for not acting to oppose the former law against homosexuality.

It must be recalled, Cardinal Marx said, “that the Church has not exactly been a trailblazer as far as the rights of homosexuals are concerned.”

“We must express our regret that we did nothing to oppose homosexuals from being prosecuted,” he continued.

“The (German) law (against homosexuality) was not rescinded until 1994,” he said, “and we, as a Church, did not concern ourselves with it.”

The German parliament voted 393 to 226 on June 30 to legalize gay “marriage.”

The new law was not a defeat for the Church, Cardinal Marx said, because marriage and family were issues that extend beyond the Church.

“The Christian position is one thing. It’s another thing to ask if I can make all the Christian moral concepts (state) laws,” he said, according to LaCroix International. “Whoever fails to understand that the one does not automatically lead to the other has not understood the essence of modern society.”

He also dismissed concerns that legalized gay “marriage” would lead to incest and threesome marriages in Germany.

“The new law is concerned with allowing same-sex partners – and not close relations or three or more people – to marry,” he said. “One shouldn’t immediately conjure up the bursting of a dam.”

The Augsberger Algemeine interviewer pointed out for Cardinal Marx how members of some of Germany’s Christian political parties expressed fears their parties were no longer Christian. And further, Regensburg Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer had lamented that Catholics were becoming “homeless” in German politics.

Cardinal Marx said in reply that none of the German parties wanted to implement all the Church’s positions politically and that would not be possible “or indeed desirable in a secular state.”

The interviewer did insist that the Church had lost influence.

“Once again, we don’t simply want to mold our opinions into laws and thereby measure the Church’s influence,” Cardinal Marx responded, saying that in a secular society the state must make laws that are valid for everyone.

Cardinal Marx had said last year that the Catholic Church should publicly apologize for what he termed its scandalous and terrible treatment of homosexuals.

“The history of homosexuals in our societies is very bad because we’ve done a lot to marginalize [them],” he said at the time, continuing that as a Church and as a society “we’ve also to say ‘sorry, sorry.’”

The cardinal said as well that up until “very recently” the Catholic Church was “very negative about gay people,” adding that “it was a scandal and terrible.”

At the 2015 Synod on the Family, Cardinal Marx argued the Church should “seriously consider” admitting divorced and remarried Catholics to Holy Communion because sexual continence seems unrealistic.

“The advice to refrain from sexual acts in the new relationship not only appears unrealistic to many,” Cardinal Marx stated. “It is also questionable whether sexual actions can be judged independent of the lived context.”

He also gave a presentation at the Synod in support of fellow German Cardinal Walter Kasper’s proposal allowing Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics. In it, he said a “new path” had been found in regard to sexual ethics and also that sexuality should not be reduced to the mere aspect of having children.

Just before the 2015 Synod, the German bishops published a theological essay on the conference’s website justifying same-sex “marriage.”

Cardinal Marx was also part of a secret meeting in Rome organized by the presidents of the bishops' conferences in France, Germany, and Switzerland to discuss advancing a progressive agenda on such issues as homosexuality and Communion for the divorced and remarried.