Pope Francis was open to a discussion of Catholic sexual morality, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, president of the German bishops’ conference and member of the Pope’s group of cardinal advisers, told journalists in Munich on 20 December.
“In my view Pope Francis is open to a discussion of Catholic sexual morality”, Marx said. He had spoken to the Pope on this subject on several occasions, he said. “And as I see it, he is not committed to any hard and fast rules”.
He, Marx, was far more worried about “those forces that are of the opinion that if we had no more homosexual priests, the entire problem of sexual abuse would be solved. That is an argument I must repudiate”, he emphasised. As far as abuse was concerned, priests with a homosexual orientation were “no more vulnerable than heterosexual priests”. The question was whether they were able to lead celibate lives like heterosexual priests. He would take great care not to differentiate on this point, he said.
At the same time, Marx cautioned against abolishing celibacy as a consequence of priestly sexual abuse. It was, however, essential to discuss the lifestyle and formation of priests and clarify whether or not “this leads to eccentricity”.