04 July 2016, The Tablet

South African cardinal reveals tensions in hierarchy over Church's attitude to gay people

Writing on Twitter the cardinal said political correctness is today’s major heresy

South African Cardinal Wilfrid Napier has highlighted the tensions within the hierarchy over how to engage with gay people, in a response to comments made recently by German Cardinal Reinhard Marx.

Speaking in Dublin at Trinity College, after addressing a conference organised by Trinity’s Loyola Institute on the role of the Church in a pluralist society, Cardinal Marx, the President of the German bishops’ conference, said that the Catholic Church should apologise for its scandalous treatment of gay people.

Until “very recently”, he said, the Church, but also society at large, has been “very negative about gay people”. “It was a scandal and terrible,” he told The Irish Times. “The history of homosexuals in our societies is very bad because we’ve done a lot to marginalise [them],” he added.

Cardinal Napier responded on Twitter by saying: “God help us! Next we’ll have to apologise for teaching that adultery is a sin!”, adding: “Political correctness (PC) is today’s major heresy”.

Napier posted his tweet in response to African pro-life and pro-family activist Obianuju Ekeocha, the founder of Culture of Life Africa, who tweeted the Irish Times’ article about Cardinal Marx, who is also a member of the Pope’s C9 advisory group. 



When asked by reporters about the German cardinal’s comments while on the plane back from Armenia on June 26, the Pope said: “I think the Church not only must say it is sorry to the gay person it has offended, but also to the poor, to exploited women".

Responding to a question about the recent attack on a LGBT nightclub in Orlando in which 49 people were killed, the Pope closed his eyes as if in pain and shook his head in dismay. "The Church must say it is sorry for not having behaved as it should many times, many times,” he said. “When I say the 'Church', I mean we Christians because the church is holy; we are the sinners…"We Christians must say we are sorry."

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