A German cardinal is today responding to the recent interview of Cardinal Reinhard Marx in which he opens up to the idea of blessing homosexual couples (and implicitly thus the practice of sodomy). Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes – the former President of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum – has written a commentary on this idea for the Austrian Catholic website kath.net.
“The initiative of Cardinal Marx ignores the clear Revelation of God,” comments Cardinal Cordes, and explains that “the Church is in its pastoral care bound to Holy Scripture and to its interpretation through the Church’s Magisterium.” Here, the German cardinal refers to St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans (1:18-32) as interpreted by the German theologian Heinrich Schlier in his book Der Römerbrief (Freiburg 1977); the Declaration of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (29 December 1975) and the Catechism of the Catholic Church (no. 2357), in order “to recognize the binding instruction of the Church.” Cordes adds, saying: “Marx does not even mention that homosexuality always contradicts the Will of God.”
Cardinal Cordes also calls the idea to bless homosexual couples “frighteningly naive.” He says:
Whoever reflects upon this for a moment, discovers the true intention of those concerned. […] In this case, people do not wish to receive God’s assistance for themselves; rather, they aim with their request at the recognition and acceptance of their homosexual way of life and its ecclesial valorization.
The German prelate adds to this analysis his comment: “An ecclesial blessing as a confirmation of a relationship which is contrary to the Will of God? That truly seems sacrilegious.”
For Cardinal Cordes, it is clear that Cardinal Marx “misunderstands here the idea of pastoral care as a form of sentimental acceptance.” He sees a “new version of situation ethics” and comments with the words “Those things that are contrary to God [“Gottwidrigkeiten”] (“intrinsice malum – intrinsically evil”) are always a sin.” With some strong words, Cardinal Cordes concludes his commentary as follows:
Or how about “in individual cases”: more encouragement for the activities of the mafiosi? Accepting pastoral care for doctors who procure abortions? Which churchman is finally so presumptuous to expect more salvation from his confused “compassion” than from listening to God’s Will? Which servant knows it better than his Master? In any case, a statement by St. Augustine shows the cardinal [Marx] his limits: “Love the erring people; but combat with hatred their error! Without pride bask yourself in possessing the truth; fight for it with meekness and goodness!” (St. Augustine in Contra litteras Petiliani, 1,31)
This is not the first time, that Cardinal Cordes has publicly opposed Cardinal Marx. In 2015, he made a sharp rebuke of Cardinal Marx for his brazen claim that the German Catholic Church “is not merely a subsidiary of Rome.” Cordes then resisted such a spirit of independence and warned against an “anti-Roman effect” which could be “destructive” for northern Europe and also destructive for the “unity of the Faith.” Additionally, already in 2016, Cardinal Cordes had come to the rescue of the four dubia cardinals and their loyal defense of the traditional Catholic teaching on marriage. At that time, he had said:
“With an objective tone, the four cardinals have asked for the removal of doubts about the text [Amoris Laetitia]. They were met with a disproportionate protest. I was not able to understand this indignation; I also had doubts that these indignant persons were motivated by a desire to find the truth.