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Cardinal Reinhard Marx at the German bishops' 'Synodal Path' assembly, Jan. 2020.Rudolf Gehrig / CNA Deutsch

MUNICH, Germany (LifeSiteNews) – The most senior German cardinal in the Catholic Church has expressed his support for ordaining homosexual men to the priesthood, in the latest attack on Magisterial teaching by the prelate.

Cardinal Reinhard Marx made the comments at a press conference yesterday in Munich where he was responding to a new report alleging he and several of his predecessors, including then-archbishop Josef Ratzinger (Pope emeritus Benedict XVI), mishandled multiple sexual abuse cases as archbishops of Munich and Freising.

After reading a prepared statement lamenting the abuse, Marx went on to tell reporters that synodality was “the basic requirement for a new church” and that homosexuality should not be a restriction on the “ability of becoming a priest.”

“How do we deal with the homosexuality of priests?” he asked. “Not everyone is forced to declare [to others] their own sexual inclination, whether he is heterosexual or homosexual. He must decide that [whether to declare it] for himself.”

“But if he does [declare it], then that is to be respected and then this is not a restriction on his ability of becoming a priest,” Marx continued. “That is my position and we have to stand up for it.”

The comments follow over 120 German priests, church employees, and other laity coming out as “LGBT” in a televised documentary earlier in the week, with the newly launched “OutinChurch” lobby group seeking to overturn perennial Catholic teaching on the immorality of homosexual acts.

One bishop, Helmut Dieser of Aachen, appeared in the documentary and claimed that the Catholic Church needs to change its biblical position and laws regarding the question of homosexuality.

The Church teaches that feeling same-sex attraction itself is not a sin, but the inclination itself is “intrinsically disordered,” and homosexual acts are always considered “sinful,” “intrinsically disordered,” and “contrary to natural law,” as explained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Cardinal Marx’s call for the ordination of homosexual men contradicts repeated statements from the Vatican banning people from seminary and Holy Orders who “practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called ‘gay culture’.”

A 2005 instruction from the Congregation for Catholic Education states that “if a candidate practices homosexuality or presents deep-seated homosexual tendencies, his spiritual director as well as his confessor have the duty to dissuade him in conscience from proceeding towards ordination,” and that it “would be gravely dishonest for a candidate to hide his own homosexuality in order to proceed, despite everything, towards ordination.”

Released during the pontificate of Benedict XVI, that instruction was reiterated in a 2016 Congregation for Clergy ratio on priestly formation approved by Pope Francis.

Church norms maintain that any “transitory” homosexual tendencies have to be “clearly overcome” three years before ordination to the diaconate.

Cardinal Marx had offered his resignation to Pope Francis in June last year as a result of the widespread mishandling of sexual abuse cases in the church, but this was turned down by the Argentine pontiff.

As LifeSite’s Dr. Maike Hickson wrote at the time, “Since Cardinal Marx had previously spoken with Pope Francis about this letter, and since Pope Francis gave him his approval for publishing this private letter, it is clear that we are dealing with a well-planned event that has its purposes.”