German Cardinal Gives Gays His Blessing—Almost

Aug 09, 2011 by

Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich

Voices from within the Catholic Church seem to be stepping away from Pope Benedict’s hard-line rhetoric against queers.  In May a poll indicated that three-quarters of American Catholics support LGBT equality. Then, in July, a Boston priest led a Mass service in support of gay and lesbian Catholics. Now Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich has declared that the Church “has not always adopted the right tone” toward LGBT people and that he would pray for a same-sex couple if asked. Is there something in the holy water?

In an interview with Süddeutsche Zeitung, Germany’s largest daily newspaper, Marx said:

“All who want to participate, open up to the Gospel and join the community of the Church, are welcome. I cannot bless a gay relationship, but I can pray for people who request it. It would be a big step if each were integrated, but this has not yet been achieved everywhere.”

His comments come at a time when Germany’s liberal Green Party is calling for full marriage equality after ten years of “registered partnerships” for same-sex couples in the country.  But while the Cardinal stresses gays and lesbians are welcome in the Church, he was cautious not to contradict Church doctrine that sex should remain between men and women who are married. “We can’t simply change that,” he said. “You can’t pick and choose when it comes to faith and the Church.”

At 57, Marx is the youngest member of the College of Cardinals, the clerical institution that elects the Pope. (Jeez, 57 and he’s the newbie?) And he’s something of a liberal voice in the Church—the head of the committee for social issues for the German Bishops’ Conference and a member of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. His 2008 book, Das Kapital: A Plea for Man, suggests that naked capitalism may be is insufficient to “ensure the welfare of the world.”

Now this is a priest we could get behind. (Oh, you know what we mean!)