After Outcry, Cdl. Marx Backtracks on ‘Blessing’ Gay Unions

by Rodney Pelletier  •  •  February 8, 2018   

But fellow German prelate confirms Marx not misquoted

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MUNICH ( - Cardinal Reinhard Marx, head of the German Bishops' Conference, is claiming he was misquoted when it was claimed he confirmed an interviewer's question asking if a blessing rite for same-sex couples was possible in the Catholic Church.

Marx, the archbishop of Munich and Freising and a close advisor to Pope Francis, told Catholic News Agency on Wednesday their translation of a February 2 interview with Bavarian Radio was incorrect when he was asked, "So, you really can imagine that there might be a way to bless homosexual couples in the Catholic Church?"


Marx answered, "Jah," German for "yes," and continued, "There are no general solutions, and I think that would not be right because we are talking about pastoral care for individual cases and that applies to other areas as well, which we cannot regulate, where we have no sets of rules."

Father Dwight Longenecker commented on February 4 that a reader contacted him, claiming Bavarian Radio selectively quoted an audio interview with Marx. He notes in a followup:

That certainly sounds like the cardinal is saying 'Yes' to the blessing of same-sex unions, but the German speakers said reading his 'Yes' as a clear affirmation is to misunderstand the German language where 'Jah' is often used not simply as an affirmation but merely as an interjection to move the conversation on the way, in the midst of a conversation we might say, 'Yeah, but ... .'

Fellow German prelate Cdl. Paul Josef Cordes interpreted Marx's comment to be what it was originally reported. He slammed Marx for his "new edition of situational ethics," adding, "After all, which Churchman would be so presumptuous to expect more salvation from his confused 'compassion' than from listening to God's Will? Which servant knows better than his master?"

In July 2017, Cordes criticized Marx for claiming the world looks to the German Church for leadership, saying nobody is looking to the German Church for leadership since Germany has barely any supernatural faith left.

On Tuesday, Philadelphia Abp. Charles Chaput also criticized Marx's comments, saying, "On the surface, the idea may sound generous and reasonable. But the imprudence of such public statements is — and should be — the cause of serious concern."

He continued, "[A]ny such 'blessing rite' would cooperate in a morally forbidden act, no matter how sincere the persons seeking the blessing," adding, "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."

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