The president of the German Bishops’ Conference has said that, in his view, "there are no general solutions" regarding the blessing of homosexual couples, saying the matter should be left to "the pastor on the ground," and the "particular, individual case at hand."
Cardinal Reinhard Marx told the Bavarian State Broadcasting’s radio service that “we are talking about pastoral care for individual cases, and that applies to other areas as well, which we cannot regulate, where we have no sets of rules."
Speaking on Feb. 3, on the occasion of his 10th anniversary as Archbishop of Munich and Freising, Cardinal Marx was asked, according to a transcription of the interview provided by the Archdiocese of Munich and Friesing, "why do we see little or no movement" with regard to the blessing of homosexual couples, the ordination of female deacons, or the "abolition of compulsory [priestly] celibacy."
Marx said that, for him, the important question to be asked regards how “the Church can meet the challenges posed by the new circumstances of life today - but also by new insights, of course," particularly concerning pastoral care.
Describing this as a “fundamental orientation” emphasized by Pope Francis, Marx called for the Church to take “the situation of the individual, ... their life-story, their biography, ... their relationships” more seriously and accompany them, as individuals accordingly.
Marx has recently called for an individualized approach to pastoral care, which, he has said, is neither subject to general regulations nor is it relativism.
Such “closer pastoral care” must also apply to homosexuals, Cardinal Marx told the Bavarian State Broadcaster: "And one must also encourage priests and pastoral workers to give people in concrete situations encouragement. I do not really see any problems there."
The specific liturgical or public form that blessings – or other forms of “encouragement” – could take is a quite different question, the Munich archbishop continued, and one that requires further careful consideration.
According to a transcription of the interview provided by the Archdiocese of Munich, when asked whether he was saying that he “ really can imagine that there might be a way to bless homosexual couples in the Catholic Church," Marx answered, "that there are no general solutions, and I think that would not be right."
Regarding the decision of whether a homosexual couple should receive a blessing in the Church, the cardinal said, "I really would emphatically leave that to the pastoral field" rather than "demand any set of rules again -- there are things that can not be regulated."