German cardinal says blessing gay couples ok

Cardinal Reinhard Marx says Catholic priests can conduct blessing ceremonies for same-sex couples.

Marx is the president of the German Catholic Bishops’ Conference.

Marx says church leaders in the field of pastoral care work and pastoral care should consider the situation of the individual.

This means they must “try harder to accompany them in their circumstances of life”.

Gay people are included in this, so priests and pastoral workers must be encouraged to accompany people according to their individual situuations.

There are no general solutions, he says.

Instead, priests should be allowed to bless gay couples on a case-by-case basis.

Marx says the decision should be made by “the pastor on the ground, and the individual under pastoral care”.

“It’s about pastoral care for individual cases, and that applies in other areas as well, which we can not regulate, where we have no sets of rules.”

While he stopped short of fully endorsing blessings for same-sex couples, his positive comments made it clear he was open to approving such benedictions in private ceremonies.

“The issue is how the church can do justice to the challenges that new living conditions and new insights bring,” Marx says.

Bishop Franz-Josef Bode, who is the vice-president of the German Catholic bishops’ conference, also asked for deeper discussion on church blessings for homosexual partnerships.

He says it is unhelpful to remain silent about such taboo subjects concerning the “political reality” of same-sex marriage.

“We must therefore ask ourselves how we should encounter and respond to those who enter into such partnerships and remain committed to the Church,” Bode says.

“We must ask ourselves how we should accompany them pastorally and liturgically and how we can meet their needs.”

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