Catholic cardinal says gay people can be blessed but cannot have ‘a marriage-like relationship’

Catholic cardinal Reinhard Marx

A German Catholic cardinal, described as “Germany’s most important Catholic”, has said that while gay people can be blessed they should be barred from having a “marriage-like relationship”.

Reinhard Marx is a chairman German Bishops’ Conference as well as being a Catholic cardinal. When MPs voted to legalise same-sex marriage in Germany in 2017, he said he was “deeply saddened”. 

Marx did an interview with German magazine Stern, in which he is described in the piece as “Germany’s most important Catholic”, and he responded to the question “What do you do when a homosexual couple asks you for an episcopal blessing?”

He said: “I can bless them both in the sense of pastoral accompaniment, we can pray together. But theirs cannot be a marriage-like relationship.”

According to the Catholic News Agency, Marx also said in the interview that he told the Vatican Synod on the Family in 2015 that faithful same-sex couples should not be “negatively bracketed” by the Catholic church, or told that their relationships are worthless.

But he also reaffirmed that a union between two people of the same gender “is not a marriage”, and stated that marriage must be between a man and a woman.

On the issue of women being ordained in the church, the Catholic cardinal also said that Pope Francis told him “the door is closed”.

This month, the former Anglican chaplain to Queen Elizabeth announced that he was converting to Catholicism because the Church of England was too “politically correct” on issues like trans rights.

He said of his conversion: “Too often, called upon to defend Christian values, [the Church of England] has remained astonishingly silent.

“Nowhere is this starker today than in the highly-charged debate over transgender rights, particularly regarding children and teenagers… Today’s children are bombarded with social media messages sowing doubts about what was a cast-iron certainty of childhood: you are a boy or a girl.”