Cardinal Reinhard Marx made these comments during a press conference yesterday in Munich, where he was responding to a new report alleging that he and several of his predecessors, including then-Archbishop Josef Ratzinger, mishandled multiple cases of sexual abuse as Archbishops of Munich and Freising.
After reading a prepared statement in which he regretted the abuses, Cardinal Marx went on to say that synodality was “the basic requirement for a new Church” and that homosexuality should not be a restriction on the “capacity to become a priest.”
“How to deal with the homosexuality of priests?” he asked. “Not everyone is obliged to declare [to others] their own sexual inclination, whether heterosexual or homosexual. It's up to him to decide.”
“But if he does, then that must be respected and it is not a restriction on his ability to become a priest. This is my position and we must defend it.”
The comments follow the coming out of more than 120 German priests, church employees, and other lay people in a television documentary earlier this week. The recently launched “OutinChurch” pressure group seeks to overturn Catholic teaching on the immorality of homosexual acts.
Msgr. Helmut Dieser of Aachen argued in the documentary that the Catholic Church needs to modify its biblical position and its laws on the issue of homosexuality.
The Church teaches that same-sex attraction is not a sin in itself, but that the inclination itself is “intrinsically disordered,” and that homosexual acts are always considered “sinful,” “intrinsically disordered” and “contrary to natural law.”
Cardinal Marx's call for the ordination of homosexual men is at odds with repeated statements by the Holy See prohibiting the seminary and holy orders to people who “practice homosexuality, manifest deep 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 homosexual tendencies, both his spiritual director and his confessor have a duty to dissuade him in conscience from proceeding to ordination,” and that “it would be gravely dishonest for a candidate to conceal his own homosexuality in order to proceed, despite everything, to ordination.”
Published during the pontificate of Benedict XVI, this instruction was reiterated in a 2016 document from the Congregation for the Clergy on the formation of priests.
Cardinal Marx's proposal is therefore contrary to these instructions and totally irresponsible. It is part of this disastrous Synodal Path which has already relegated Catholic morality to the closet to replace it with modernity in all its excesses.