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Cardinal Marx speaks on Pope Francis' leadership, Synod debate on marriage

January 22, 2015

“This whole pontificate has opened new paths,” Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich told an American Jesuit publication.

Cardinal Marx, a member of the Council of Cardinals, spoke at length about the leadership of Pope Francis in an interview with America magazine.

“The Gospel is not new, but Francis is expressing it in a new way and is inspiring a lot of people, all over the world,” Cardinal Marx said.

Answering a question about the debate in the Synod of Bishops about divorce and remarriage, the German cardinal said: “I am astonished that some can say, ‘Everything is clear’ on this topic. Things are not clear.” He said that the Synod was rightly concerned with putting the unchanged teaching of the Church into new and accessible ways, while searching for new means of reaching out to the faithful. “It is very important that the Synod does not have the spirit of ‘all or nothing,’” he said. “It is not a good way.”

Cardinal Marx reported that he was “astonished” to find that young people, including homosexuals, say that they are hoping for a relationship that lasts a lifetime. He took this attitude as a sign that the Church’s teaching on the permanence of marriage should find a ready audience.

At the same time, the cardinal said that the Church should look at irregular relationships without condemning them. “It is not possible to say that the relationship was all negative if the couple is faithful together, and they are waiting, or planning their life, and after 10 years they find the way to come to the sacrament,” he said.

Questioned about plans for marking the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in his native Germany, Cardinal Marx observed: “We in the Catholic Church cannot celebrate this anniversary, since it is not good that the Church has been divided during these centuries. But we have to heal our memories.”

When asked what would be necessary to bring about effective reform in the Church, Cardinal Marx replied forcefully: “Mentality! Mentality! Mentality!”


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  • Posted by: Elan - Jan. 23, 2015 2:30 PM ET USA

    I cannot Imagine any saint of the church replying to the final question above the way the cardinal did. Reform always comes about with repentance and grace, drawing closer to Jesus. I believe Jesus and His Church. A pope cannot change doctrine. Pope Francis will not and cannot change doctrine. The Church cannot teach error otherwise Jesus is not God. I believe He IS God and I believe everything he taught including John 14:25,26 and Mt. 16:17-19.

  • Posted by: Lucius49 - Jan. 22, 2015 7:43 PM ET USA

    I read the whole interview and it raises questions. What are the new paths the Pope is opening? What is an example of the new approach to the Gospel? The Lord's teaching on divorce and remarriage is pretty clear so what would be a new and accessible way to that teaching? The Cardinal mentions mentality. Okay what mentality? In the whole interview Cardinal Marx notes everyone is talking about Pope Francis? What kind of talk? Often it is talk that the Pope will change settled Catholic teaching.