One of Pope Francis’ leading advisors has declared that the Catholic Church should publicly apologize to homosexuals for what he called its scandalous and terrible treatment of them.
The comments by German Cardinal Reinhard Marx, one of the council of nine cardinals chosen by Pope Francis to advise him, were reported in the Irish Times June 23.
“The history of homosexuals in our societies is very bad because we’ve done a lot to marginalize [them],” he said, adding that as a Church and as a society “we’ve also to say ‘sorry, sorry.’”
The Cardinal, who is the Archbishop of Munich and Freising, said that up until “very recently” the Catholic Church had been “very negative about gay people,” adding that “it was a scandal and terrible.”
It was almost three years ago when Pope Francis uttered his famous statement “Who am I to judge” regarding homosexuality that signified to many a new direction they thought the Pope intended to move the Church on the topics of marriage and sexuality.
Cardinal Marx suggested in the interview that the Church ought to look favorably on same-sex relationships, but would not go as far as calling those relationships “marriage.”
“We have to respect the decisions of people. We have to respect also, as I said in the first synod on the family — some were shocked, but I think it’s normal — you cannot say that a relationship between a man and a man, and they are faithful, [that] that is nothing, that has no worth,” he said.
He said it was up to the state “to make regulations for homosexuals so they have equal rights or nearly equal . . . but marriage is another point,” adding that the state “has to regulate these partnerships and to bring them into a just position, and we as church cannot be against it.”
Because of its respect for the natural and moral order established by the Divine Creator, the Catholic Church teaches that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered” since they are “contrary to the natural law” in that they “close the sexual act to the gift of life.”
“They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved,” the Catechism of the Catholic Church states.
The Church, while recognizing the homosexual inclination itself as “objectively disordered,” nevertheless teaches that men and woman who experience same-sex attraction must be “accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity,” adding that “every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”
St. Peter Damian, an 11th century Italian Catholic reformer and a Doctor of the Church, argued in his day that for the Church to be the salt of the earth and a light to the world, she must uncompromisingly preach the whole truth about God’s plan for sexuality and how terrible are the consequences, both temporal and eternal, to those who engage in the “unnatural sexual practices” of homosexuality, masturbation, and contraception.
Following Scripture and the Tradition of the Church, Damian described homosexuality in his famous Book of Gomorrah as a “diabolical” corruption of God’s plan for sexuality between a man and a woman. It is a direct assault against God. He wrote that homosexuality must not only be not tolerated, but it must be condemned and stamped out, describing it as a “lethal wound festering in the very body of the holy Church.”
“This vice [of same-sex activity] is the death of bodies, the destruction of souls, pollutes the flesh, extinguishes the light of the intellect, expels the Holy Spirit from the temple of the human heart, introduces the diabolical inciter of lust, throws into confusion, and removes the truth completely from the deceived mind…It opens up hell and closes the door of paradise…It cuts off a member of the Church and casts him into the voracious conflagration of raging Gehenna.”
“For it is this which violates sobriety, kills modesty, slays chastity. It butchers virginity with the sword of a most filthy contagion. It befouls everything, it stains everything, it pollutes everything, and for itself it permits nothing pure, nothing foreign to filth, nothing clean,” he wrote.
Cardinal Marx’s statement’s on homosexuality are not the first time he has departed from clear Church teaching. Last year he proposed at the Synod on the Family that it was “unrealistic” to ask those living in adultery to refrain from sexual acts prior to being admitted to the sacrament of Holy Communion.