Volume > Issue > Note List > The Theological Blurriness of Cardinal Marx

The Theological Blurriness of Cardinal Marx

Who is Reinhard Cardinal Marx — and why should we care?

Cardinal Marx is the archbishop of Munich and Freising. The only reason anyone outside of Germany has heard of him is because he is president of the German Bishops’ Conference, a position he’s used as a bully pulpit since his election to the post in March 2014.

Buoyed by what he perceives as Pope Francis’s reform-minded attitude toward the Church in general and toward marriage and family life in particular, Cardinal Marx has emerged as a leading critic of Gerhard Cardinal Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a post held by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger during most of John Paul II’s papacy.

Cardinal Marx made news around the world this February when he stated that the German bishops were unwilling to wait until the second session of the Synod on the Family, slated for this coming October, before moving ahead with the implementation of Walter Cardinal Kasper’s proposed pastoral plan to allow divorced-and-remarried Catholics to receive Holy Communion. (You guessed it: Kasper is German too.)

Both Kasper and Marx have implied by their words and actions that national episcopal conferences can form their own doctrinal and pastoral policies apart from Rome and contrary to the Church’s universal teaching. It sounds like they’ve spent a little too much time in Wittenberg.

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