Reinhard Marx

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His Eminence

Reinhard Marx
Cardinal, Archbishop of Munich and Freising
Kardinal Reinhard Marx.jpg
Marx in 2010
Archdiocese Munich and Freising
Appointed30 November 2007
Installed2 February 2008
Predecessor Friedrich Wetter
Other postsCardinal-Priest of S. Corbiniano
President of the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community
Coordinator of Council for the Economy
Member of the Council of Cardinals
Ordination2 June 1979
by  Johannes Joachim Degenhardt
Consecration21 September 1996
by Johannes Joachim Degenhardt
Created cardinal20 November 2010
by Benedict XVI
Personal details
Birth nameReinhard Marx
Born (1953-09-21) 21 September 1953 (age 66)
Geseke, Germany
DenominationRoman Catholic
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MottoUbi Spiritus Domini Ibi Libertas
Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Freedom
Coat of arms Coat of arms of Reinhard Marx.svg

Reinhard Marx (born 21 September 1953) is a German cardinal of the Catholic Church. He serves as the Archbishop of Munich and Freising. Pope Benedict XVI elevated Marx to the cardinalate in a consistory in 2010.



Born in Geseke, North Rhine-Westphalia, Cardinal Marx was ordained to the priesthood, for the Archdiocese of Paderborn, by Archbishop Johannes Joachim Degenhardt on 2 June 1979. He obtained a doctorate in theology from the University of Bochum in 1989. [1]

On 23 July 1996, he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Paderborn and Titular Bishop of Petina by Pope John Paul II. Marx was consecrated on 21 September (his forty-third birthday) by Archbishop Degenhardt, with Bishops Hans Drewes and Paul Consbruch serving as co-consecrators.

On 20 December 2001 he was named Bishop of Trier (the oldest diocese in Germany), succeeding Hermann Josef Spital nearly a year after the latter's retirement. Marx is considered to be a "social scientist ... and whiz with the media". [2] Moreover, in 2003, he suspended a theologian for extending to Protestants an invitation to the Eucharist. [3]

Styles of
Reinhard Marx
Coat of arms of Reinhard Marx.svg
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken styleYour Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Munich and Freising

On 30 November 2007 Pope Benedict XVI appointed Reinhard Marx as Metropolitan Archbishop of Munich and Freising, a position that Benedict himself held from 1977 to 1981. Rumours surrounding this were circulated before Pope Benedict's formal announcement, but Marx responded to these by saying, "The Pope names bishops, not the press." [3] On 2 February 2008, Marx was installed as Archbishop of Munich and Freising in the Munich Frauenkirche. He became first-ever Cardinal-Priest of San Corbiniano on 20 November 2010. [4] Cardinal Marx's title is that of Saint Corbinian, who was the first bishop of Freising and of whom Cardinal Marx is the apostolic successor.

Cardinal Marx currently serves as head of the committee for social issues at the German Bishops' Conference. In addition to his duties as archbishop of Munich, on 11 December 2010 Cardinal Marx was named by Pope Benedict as a member of the Congregation for Catholic Education for a five-year renewable term. [5] On 29 December 2010 he was appointed a member of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

On 7 March 2012, he was appointed a member of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches. [6]

On 22 March 2012, the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community elected him its president.

He was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2013 papal conclave that elected Pope Francis.

On 13 April 2013 he was appointed to a group of cardinals established by Pope Francis, exactly a month after his election, to advise him and to study a plan for revising the Apostolic Constitution on the Roman Curia, 'Pastor Bonus'. The other cardinals are Giuseppe Bertello, president of the Vatican City State governorate; Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa from Chile; Oswald Gracias from India; Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya from the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Seán Patrick O'Malley OFM Cap from the United States of America; George Pell from Australia; and Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga from Honduras. Bishop Marcello Semeraro acts as secretary for the group. The group's first meeting was scheduled for 1–3 October 2013. [7]

On the question whether the Church should allow remarried divorcees to Communion, it came to disagreements with Gerhard Ludwig Müller, the head of the Congregation of the Faith at the Vatican, in November 2013. Cardinal Marx called for a wide debate on the treatment of the Catholic Church with divorced and remarried.

When the Vatican suspended Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst in 2013 over his alleged lavish spending, Cardinal Reinhard Marx was also criticized as he spent around $11 million renovating the archbishop's residence and another $13 million for a guesthouse in Rome. [8]

On 19 February 2014 he was confirmed as a member of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches until the end of his current five-year term. [9]

On 12 March 2014 Cardinal Marx was also elected chairman of the German Bishops' Conference as successor of Robert Zollitsch. He was elected in Münster by the German bishops and auxiliary bishops only in the fifth round of voting in which a simple majority is sufficient. He served in this capacity until his replacement Georg Bätzing was elected on 3 March 2020. [10]

President of the Bishops' Conference of the European Community

He was elected as President of the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community on 22 March 2012.

After Britain voted to leave the European Union in June 2016, Cardinal Marx issued a statement saying: "This decision of the British voters should of course be respected, even if we, as COMECE, find it extremely regrettable." [11] [12] He praised the EU's "project of community and solidarity" but also stated: "We need to 'rethink' Europe in some way. ... we will only be able to build a good future if the nations of Europe are united. It also raises the question on the way to achieve the 'true European humanism' to which Pope Francis has encouraged the Europeans." [11] [12]

Despite protests by Catholics in Germany, including the Catholic Workers Movement, Cardinal Marx spoke positively of the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. He said: "Given today’s huge social and environmental challenges, I won’t have a good feeling if Europe pulls out of shaping globalization and leaves the issues and actions to others," [13]

Following the Christmas market attack in Berlin in December 2016, Cardinal Marx said "The news from Berlin have deeply shocked me. The violence on the Christmas market is the opposite of what visitors were seeking. My compassion goes to the relatives of the dead and injured. For all of them I will pray." [14]

In April 2017, Cardinal Marx met with Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission, and he hailed the great achievements that had been made in Europe in recent history. In a joint statement with Anglican bishop Christopher Hill, Marx said: "In the decades since the founding of the European Union and its predecessor institutions, Europeans have benefitted from historic periods of peace, the expansion of democracy on the continent, and increased freedom to work, travel, and study,' and 'We believe more than ever in the European project and believe that a common path resting on shared values is the best path, ... A united Europe brings about peace in a world where peace cannot be taken for granted." [15]

In May 2017, the leaders of COMECE met in Rome in relation to a high-level congress to take place in Rome on the theme 'Rethinking Europe'. On the occasion, Cardinal Marx stated that putting the human person back at the centre of European public policy was, along with dying to oneself, the church's message and he further stated, "I see, when I meet politicians and “other” people, that they are open to discuss. ...We cannot [do] politics, we are not politicians ... but we can enable the way.” [16]

On December 2nd 2018, Marx attended the "Pulse of Europe" meeting in Munich and made statements in favour of greater European unity. He said "Nationalism means war. Germany first? That is egotism and won’t get us any further" and "The Romanian poor and the Italian unemployed are all our problem". He also said he did not understand why no one was speaking of United States of Europe any longer. [17]

Contribution to global Synod of Bishops

Marx participated in the Synod of Bishops on the Family in 2014 and 2015. The interim working document, known as the relatio post disceptationem, summarized the first week of discussions, calling on the church to listen more and to apply mercy more widely. [18] In 2014, addressing a question raised on the family, he argued that church doctrine can change over time, and "doesn't depend on the spirit of time but can develop over time. ...Saying that the doctrine will never change is a restrictive view of things," Marx later clarified at a Vatican press conference: "The core of the Catholic Church remains the Gospel, but have we discovered everything? This is what I doubt." [18]

Marx also indicated support for Cardinal Walter Kasper's proposal to give the sacrament of Holy Communion in certain circumstances to people who had divorced and remarried. He has stated his position that no sacramental second marriage was possible within Catholic teaching, but he wanted it to be possible that people whose marriages had failed could still be accepted within the church. [19]

While previously suggesting that the German church might go in a different direction than the Synod, Marx insisted at the 2015 Synod that he would abide by whatever the Pope decided. He said "the Church is the only institution in the world that can reach unanimous agreement. Thank God we have the pope. We bishops do not have to decide. Church unity is not in danger. And once the pope has decided, we will abide by his decision." [20]

When several cardinals led by Cardinal Raymond Burke published a set of questions asking for clarifications regarding certain aspects of Amoris Laetitia, Marx opposed it and claimed that the exhortation was not ambiguous as some claimed, and that it did in fact allow for people to receive the Eucharist in a second marriage under certain circumstances. Cardinal Burke and others who had published these questions believed that under no circumstances could communion be given to someone who was in a second marriage. [21]

In February 2017, Marx, when speaking of the events surrounding this controversy, stated: '“We have discussions in the church, normal discussions, tensions. It will be forever like this.” Marx also claimed that support for the Pope within the church was substantial. [22]

Coordinator for Council of the Economy

In 2014, Pope Francis created a new agency for organizing the economic affairs of the Holy See called the 'Secretariat for the Economy' [23] . In coordination with this, the Pope also created a council of bishops and laity who would oversee the secretariat known as the Council for the Economy. Cardinal Marx was named as coordinator of this council [24] .

The Vatican reported a budget deficit of 70 million Euros for the year 2018, which was double the previous year. Cardinal Marx commented on this situation at the time that the deficit could be resolved within a year or two. In October 2019, he said "We have to go forward, otherwise I cannot see how to sign a budget with a structural deficit,” and “But that is a way we can go in several years. That is not a catastrophe." Vatican revenues and finances went into further collapse in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic. [25]

In April 2020, Father Juan Antonio Guerrero, the head of the Vatican's Dicastery for Finances, and Cardinal Marx sent a letter to Vatican offices to get them to drastically cut costs and revise their budgets for 2020. The contents of the letter called for a reduction of travel throughout the year, a cancellation of all conferences, meeting and ad limina visits, radical limits on consultancy and overtime, as well as to postpone all work to the following year which wasn't absolutely necessary. [26]


Homosexuality, gay rights, and the Church

In 2011, Marx was reported as saying that the Catholic Church “has not always adopted the right tone” toward LGBT people. He went on to add that, while he cannot officially bless a union between two people of the same sex, he can (and implicitly will) pray for their relationship if asked. [27]

In 2014, Marx responded in an interview to the issues under consideration at the Synod of Bishops concerning the Church's treatment of people that are gay: "I have the impression that we have a lot of work to do in the theological field, not only related to the question of divorce, but also the theology of marriage. I am astonished that some can say, “Everything is clear” on this topic. Things are not clear. It is not about church doctrine being determined by modern times. It is a question of aggiornamento , to say it in a way that the people can understand, and to always adapt our doctrine to the Gospel, to theology, in order to find in a new way the sense of what Jesus said, the meaning of the tradition of the church and of theology and so on. There is a lot to do". [28] He went on to say, "Take the case of two homosexuals who have been living together for 35 years and taking care of each other, even in the last phases of their lives. How can I say that this has no value?" [29]

At the 2015 Synod in Rome, Marx urged his fellow bishops that, "We must make it clear that we do not only judge people according to their sexual orientation. ...If a same-sex couple are faithful, care for one another and intend to stay together for life God won't say 'All that doesn't interest me, I'm only interested in your sexual orientation.'" [20]

Marx supports legal recognition for same-sex unions arguing that there are positive elements that can be found and supported in same-sex relationships, but is against same-sex marriage. In 2015, in Germany he stated: "Human dignity is not state-made, it’s not made by the constitution, which is why neither the constitution nor the state can pass judgment on it. ...And this also applies to the topic of marriage and the family." [30]

In June 2016, on a visit to Ireland, Cardinal Marx argued that the church and society had harmed gay people in the past and should publicly apologise. [31]

In July 2017, in an interview with the Augsburger Allgemeine in Germany, Marx commented on the recent legalization of same-sex marriage in Germany and said that it was not a concern for the church. He said that church teaching cannot be moulded into the laws of a secular state and he said: "In a secular society, the state must make laws that are valid for everyone". He also lamented that the Catholic church in Germany had not done more in the past to fight against laws that criminalized homosexual activity in Germany. [32]

In February 2018, it was widely reported that Marx said in an interview with German journalists that blessing of same-sex unions is possible in Catholic churches in Germany, [33] [34] but later clarified that he had not implied this and was misunderstood, stating that there merely could be "spiritual encouragement." [35] In January 2020 Marx said again, same-sex couples can get bessings. [36]

Abortion and euthanasia

Marx is an active opponent of abortion in Germany and has also spoken against physician-assisted suicide as well as embryonic stem cell research. On the occasion of the 2015 pro-life march in Germany, he publicly stated: “As Christians we share the conviction that the inviolable dignity of every human being has its origin in God, the Creator of all life.” [37]

However, he has been criticized by some anti-abortion groups for signalling his approval to issue the 'morning-after pill' in German Catholic hospitals, which could potentially destroy a viable embryo.[ citation needed ]

Church role in the modern world

In a visit to Ireland in June 2016, Cardinal Marx claimed that Christianity is the 'religion of the future'. He quoted Cardinal Ratzinger's (later Pope Benedict XVI) speech in Paris in 2000, when Ratzinger said that Christianity was not a faith that dealt with 'magic things' but with the real world. Cardinal Marx claimed that Christianity had a role in making the world a better place. He noted that in past times there were occasions when the church was on 'the wrong side' of various issues, but that in the future it must rely on its own social doctrine and Christian anthropology as a source from which to help make a new and better society, which also embraced the marginalized. He also expressed concern over a tendency by some to want to go back to a dream of society where things were 'more cohesive and simpler', and that future debates would be about identity and security rather than freedom. [38]

On the occasion of the death of former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl in June 2017, Cardinal Marx praised Kohl (who was a practicing Catholic) as an example of Christian witness in the modern world. Marx praised Kohl's work for German reunification, work for democracy and human rights, work for European integration, and his work to create a social market economy in Germany based on church teaching. Marx said of Kohl: "The Church in Germany is grateful for the Christian testimony of Helmut Kohl. Wherever the values of a free society were trampled on in the world, he pledged that these values be respected. He wanted and knew how to show his Christian convictions in Europe. " [39]

In October 2017, Marx along with other bishops and European politicians attended a conference in Rome entitled "Thinking Europe: A Christian Contribution to the Future of the European Project" that was meant to discuss the role of religion in the future of Europe. On the occasion, Marx commented that 20 years prior, many people thought that religion would disappear from society, but that that was not the case. He stated that the great fear for religion was not that it would disappear but rather "it will be instrumentalized for other reasons, for political reasons. That will be perhaps the great fear for the 21st century.” [40]

In 2018, Marx gave an interview in which he discussed Karl Marx. "Without him, there would not be any Catholic social doctrine,” he said. On this issue, Marx was noted to differ from Pope Francis, who shortly before had quoted Benedict XVI in calling Marxism a "totalitarian lie." [41]

On September 1, 2018 the anniversary of the German invasion of Poland, Cardinal Marx visited the Polish city of Gdansk and paid tribute to the Polish Solidarity movement supported by the church that had fought against communism in the 1980s. In an interview on the occasion, he spoke about future of Europe and said that the church was in favour of European unification and against Nationalism. On the occasion, he said, "Faith tells us we belong to a human family. Patriotism is good, but nationalism is not Catholic. I agree with Franz-Josef Strauss, who has always said: Bavaria is our home, Germany is our fatherland, Europe is our future." [42]

In October 2018, Cardinal Marx attended the Synod on Youth in Rome. At the event, as reported by ICN, he said that Pope Francis had decided to use synods as a way of moving the church forward. ICN reported that he said that it was important for the church to accompany young adults at their sensitive age, otherwise the church would be a lost playing field for evangelization. ICN also reported that he also reiterated calls he had made for a new to give women real participation in the church's decision-making process and that the church would be foolish if it did not make use of potential that women have. [43]


Cardinal Marx has consistently criticized European policies towards asylum seekers, claiming that they keep away people who need help. On the occasion of the tragic sinking of a migrant boat near Lampedusa in 2013, he said:

For years, we have followed a policy which has prevented those in need reaching our shores. This is not the kind of Europe we want. To claim asylum is a fundamental human right which we must respect. Refugees and asylum seekers deserve to be treated humanely. [44]

On September 5, 2015, Cardinal Marx along with Lutheran bishop Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, members of the clergy and crowds of Germans enthusiastically welcomed Syrian refugees coming to Germany at the Munich train station. [45]

He has also spoken out against xenophobia and violence done against migrants in Germany. He claimed that Catholics are not allowed to be xenophobic. [46]

In September 2015, he chaired a meeting of COMECE joined by the Conference of European Churches, which had been convened to discuss the Syrian migrant crisis in Europe. Marx made clear that "Those who enter Europe must not be afraid to drown or suffocate. And they must get a fair asylum process. These are minimum standards which must apply throughout Europe." [47]

Following the 2015-2016 New Year's Eve attacks on women in Germany and the discovery that most of the violence was carried out by people from the Middle East or North Africa who entered Germany as refugees, Cardinal Marx condemned the violence: “These new forms of violence and especially the inhumane treatment of women cannot be tolerated” and he demanded that “all the different forces in society must work together to prevent this type of incidents and guarantee safety.” [48]

Marx in 2009 Marx 05-2009.jpg
Marx in 2009

On February 6, 2016, he remarked that Germany cannot take in all of the world's refugees and that there needs to be a reduction in the number coming in. There had already been 1.1 million migrants entering Germany in the past year up to that point, and an unknown number yet to come. He said that in order to help refugees, it needed not only "charity but also reason". At the same time, Marx also criticized the anti-foreigner sentiments growing in Germany that had been spreading in society. [49]

In September 2016, an aide to the head of the Christian Social Union (CSU) party in Germany made negative comments about refugees, claiming it was hard to deport them. Cardinal Marx criticized the remarks and said that politicians should by finding ways to integrate them, rather than get rid of them. [50]

At the 2016 St Michael's reception in Berlin, Cardinal Marx addressed a crowd of 800, including Chancellor Merkel, and praised Germany's policy of welcoming in refugees. He also warned against nationalism and stated: 'Patriotism yes, we love our homeland, but any form of nationalism must be opposed." [51]

In February 2017, Cardinal Marx praised Chancellor Angela Merkel over her policy towards refugees: “In a critical phase of Europe, you have set an important sign of humanity and given an example of Christian love of neighbor in politics,” he said, adding, “she knows that Christians must not simply let the world run its course. We have helped shape it!” Cardinal Marx also criticized populist movements, stating that “a retreat to the national, to the closed is no Christian option.” [52]

In the wake of the German parliamentary elections in September 2017 that saw the far-right AfD party enter the German parliament for the first time, Cardinal Marx spoke out in support of reaffirming Germany's commitment to help migrants and refugees, saying: "For Christians, who'll be present in all parties, topics of fundamental importance will include dealing with foreigners seeking our protection and with our society's poor and disadvantaged. ...In the common struggle for the right path, black-and-white images of hate and exclusion aren't appropriate." [53]

In July 2018, the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) party nearly pushed Angela Merkel's government to the brink of collapse after it demanded that she do more to restrict the number of migrants entering Germany. In response, Marx criticized the CSU for going against Christian values: "A party that has chosen the C in the name has an obligation, in the spirit of Christian social teaching, especially in its attitude towards the poor and the weak". [54]


Cardinal Marx has asserted that climate change and the refugee crisis are the two biggest problems facing Europe. He has repeated Pope Francis' words in asserting the existence of an 'ecological debt' of richer more developed nations to poorer less developed nations. He has said that the Church can learn from the world in 'recognizing the signs of the times'. [55]

Foreign relations

Cardinal Marx has served as the representative of the church in Germany in other parts of the world.

In 2015, he visited the United States, including the US-Mexican border. He spoke about this experience in 2016, by saying, 'When I visited the U.S.-Mexican border last year and saw the Mexico-United States barrier with its series of walls, I thought to myself that cannot be the future of European borders." [56]

In January 2016, he visited Viet Nam and had a meeting with the chief of the Vietnamese Fatherland Front, a communist party umbrella-organization that has control of all social organizations within Viet Nam. The President of the Front stated that relations between Viet Nam and the Holy See had greatly improved, and that the church in Viet Nam was engaging in many activities that benefited Vietnamese society. Cardinal Marx expressed his hope that the Front would assist in developing Catholicism in Viet Nam and facilitating humanitarian activities among the Catholic community. [57]

During the same visit, Cardinal Marx was refused permission to travel to Vinh diocese, without any stated reason from official sources. It may have been related to the cases of religious persecution that had occurred in Vinh against the clergy and laity of the diocese. Cardinal Marx said that "no political and economic organizations can injure religious freedom". [58]


On Christ the King Sunday 2015, marking the 50th anniversary of the exchange of letters between German and Polish bishops in 1965, German and Polish bishops met at the famous monastery of Jasna Góra in Poland. Cardinal Marx gave the homily at the Mass and the presider was Polish Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki.

They signed a document calling to together build a Europe based on Christianity and that Europe still had not fully recovered from the wounds of its past, and they declared their willingness to do more work for reconciliation. They also noted with grief about the situation in the Ukraine, where its territorial integrity had been breached by separatists backed by Russia. They also praised the work of Polish bishops 50 years ago, who had been the first to reach out to German bishops, even though their nation had been the victim of the war. They also called for Christians to reach out to the refugees from other parts of the world and to protect all human life from conception until natural death. [59]

In September 2016, Cardinal Marx and Lutheran bishop Heinrich Bedford-Strohm jointly created a document titled 'Healing Memories - Witnessing to Jesus Christ', ahead of the 500 year anniversary of the Protestant reformation, calling for healing of past wounds between Catholics and Protestants. The document read, "A look at history reveals the suffering and wounds that Christians have inflicted on each other. This shocks and shames us. ...We see it as an exceptional moment of our fellowship, after centuries of mutual separation, to mark a Reformation anniversary with such readiness to engage in forgiveness and a new beginning."

They planned a mutual ecumenical meeting at Hildesheim on March 11, 2017 to mark the anniversary. Speaking of this, the two bishops said, "In it we will confess our guilt before God on behalf of our churches, asking God and each other for forgiveness and committing ourselves before God to continue to deepen our togetherness." [60]

Marx said, in speaking of Luther:"We as Catholics can now clearly say that Luther never wanted to create a new Church." [61]

In February 2017, Marx attended an ecumenical meeting of Catholics and Lutherans in Stuttgart to release revised versions of German translations of the Catholic and Lutheran bibles. At the event, Marx said, "I am very pleased that we are placing God's word in our midst in such an ecumenically meaningful year as 2017, in which we together recall the events of the Reformation 500 years ago and celebrate them today as a celebration of Christ, to place God's word in our midst." [62]

Church reform

Cardinal Marx has taught that Catholic doctrine remains the same, but the church's understanding of it changes over time. He has claimed that theology and doctrine are not the same, and that theology can change, but doctrine can't. He has said that "truth does not change but we gain greater understanding of the truth as we grow... We don't own the truth, the truth owns us, since it is a person we encounter, not something we possess." [63]

While at the 2015 Synod of the family, he contrasted Pope Pius XI's encyclical Casti connubii and Pope John Paul II's Apostolic Exhortation 'Familiaris Consortio' as evidence of the church's living tradition. [63]

In relation to the 2001 Congregation for Divine Worship's document 'Liturgiam Authenticam', which called for literal translations of the Latin into the vernacular, Marx commented that it was too 'narrow in view' and a 'dead end'. [64]

In June 2017, Cardinal Marx called for the global church to admit more women into top leadership positions. He said "And that is why I want to emphasize that positions of responsibility and executive positions in the Church that are open to lay people must be shared by both men and women.” [65]

In 2018, Marx and a majority of other German bishops supported a proposal to allow Protestant spouses of German Catholics to receive the Eucharist at Mass. However, a minority of German bishops opposed this proposal and appealed to the Vatican for clarification of the issue. Archbishop Luis Ladaria, representing Pope Francis, issued a statement in June 2018 that temporarily rejected the German proposal on several grounds, including that it was an issue for the wider church as a whole to consider. [66]

Persecution of Christians

In April 2017, during the Good Friday service held in Munich, Cardinal Marx lamented the persecution of Christians that occurred in the world, especially in nations that had been shaped by Islam: "there can be no peace between religions,” he said, unless “all human beings are permitted to live their faith and be respected in it.” [67]

Violence and religion

In June 2017, during an interview Marx claimed that religious leaders needed to be on guard to make sure that they did not provide a kind of pious framework from which religious extremists could perform violence. He indicated that both Catholics and Muslims needed to think about this. He said, "Religions simply must ask themselves—and permit themselves to be asked—whether by the way they are being interpreted or lived, they are contributing toward justifying or even fueling conflicts" [68]


During the 2015 Synod on the family, Marx faced opposition from other bishops for supporting Cardinal Kasper's proposal that the rules be relaxed to allow divorced and remarried couples to receive Holy Communion. Divisions were particularly acute between the group of bishops from Germany (notably Marx), and conservatives such as Cardinal George Pell of Sydney. Marx accused Pell of trying to foster division by making it seem as if there were two camps within the Church, one around Pope Benedict XVI and the other around Cardinal Kasper. A spokesman for Pell welcomed the suggestion that Marx saw no differences between the two groups. [69]

Cardinal Marx was indirectly criticized by retired Pope Benedict in a 2016 book of interviews with him. The occasion was related to how, shortly before Benedict's resignation in 2013, Marx had criticized him by saying he had turned the Roman curia into his own court. In response to this, Benedict said "I have always lived simply, always, ever since my childhood." The retired Pope's personal secretary Georg Gänswein also stated "One should be careful of making statements or valuations of a situation that one does not know well." [70]

Sex abuse

German media reported that an unidentified priest in the diocese of Trier had allegedly sexually abused minors, and that this priest was not removed by Cardinal Marx when he was bishop of Trier, even though he had been made aware of the case. Cardinal Marx's spokesperson claimed that Marx had acted with the relevant guidelines in place at the time. It was further claimed by the media that the priest continued to serve in Trier until 2015 and his abuse also allegedly continued up until that point. The rules governing these cases were reformed in 2010 and 2013, and the spokesperson claimed that had the new rules been in place at the time, the church would have acted differently. [71]

Cardinal Marx opened a meeting of bishops in Fulda in late September 2018 to discuss a study concerning widespread sexual abuse within the German church. The study had been commissioned by the German bishops' conference and given to the press in September 2018, and it showed widespread sexual abuse had occurred in the German church from 1946 to 2014, with almost 4,000 victims abused. On the occasion, Marx said the report "makes it clear to us that the Catholic Church has by no means overcome the issue of dealing with the sexual abuse of minors." [72] "I feel we have reached a turning point about the issues such as prevention and the treatment of victims, but also about how the Church will deal with its own future" and "We must do more: listen, understand and take appropriate measures." [73] In February 2019 Marx spoke at a conference on paedophilia in the Catholic church summoned by Pope Francis, saying that procedures to prosecute offenders "were deliberately not complied with", and files were destroyed, or not created, allowing abuse to continue. "Instead of the perpetrators, the victims were regulated and silence imposed on them." He called for greater transparency, pointing out that it is not transparency that damages the church, but its lack, and covering up. [74]


In October 2008 Cardinal Marx, with co-author Arnd Küppers, published Das Kapital: Ein Plädoyer für den Menschen (Das Kapital: A Plea for Man. Munich: Knaur-Taschenbuch-Verlag), a book named after the work by Karl Marx, that critiques capitalism. Reinhard Marx said the current worldwide financial crisis required a "fundamental social debate" and raised questions about the capacity of contemporary economies to "ensure the welfare of the world."

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Bernard Fellay Swiss bishop

Bernard Fellay, SSPX is a Swiss bishop and former superior general of the Traditionalist Catholic priestly fraternity Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX). In 1988, Pope John Paul II announced that Fellay and three others were automatically excommunicated for being consecrated as bishops by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, an act that the Holy See described as "unlawful" and "schismatic". Archbishop Lefebvre, and Bishop Antônio de Castro Mayer who co-consecrated these four bishops, were also excommunicated. At that time, he was the youngest bishop of the Roman Catholic Church at 29 years old.

Francesco Coccopalmerio Italian cardinal

Francesco Coccopalmerio is an Italian cardinal. He was president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts from his appointment by Pope Benedict XVI on 15 February 2007 until his resignation was accepted by Pope Francis on 7 April 2018. He spent his early years in the Archdiocese of Milan and became an auxiliary bishop in 1993. He moved to the Roman Curia in 2000.

Kevin Farrell Catholic cardinal

Kevin Joseph Farrell is an Irish American prelate and a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. Born in Dublin, Ireland, he was a former member of the Legion of Christ. On September 1, 2016 he was appointed the Prefect of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life. Created a Cardinal on November 19, 2016, he was the seventh Bishop of Dallas, as well as the chancellor of the University of Dallas. Farrell came to prominence in Ireland when he banned Mary McAleese, a former President of Ireland, from addressing a conference in Vatican City on "International Women’s Day" about women in the Catholic Church.

Gerhard Ludwig Müller Catholic cardinal from Germany

Gerhard Ludwig Müller is a German cardinal of the Catholic Church. He served as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) from his appointment by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012 until 2017. He was elevated to the rank of cardinal in 2014.

Robert Sarah Roman Catholic bishop

Robert Sarah is a Guinean prelate of the Catholic Church. A Cardinal since 20 November 2010, he was appointed prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments by Pope Francis on 23 November 2014. He previously served as secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples under Pope John Paul II, and president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum under Pope Benedict XVI.

Luis Antonio Tagle 20th- and 21st-century Filipino Catholic cardinal

Luis Antonio Gokim Tagle is a Filipino Cardinal prelate of the Catholic Church, and Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples since December 2019. He was the 32nd Archbishop of Manila from 2011 to 2020. Tagle also serves as the president of Caritas International, a federation of Catholic relief, development, and social service organizations, and of the Catholic Biblical Federation. On 1 May 2020, Pope Francis promoted him to the rank of cardinal bishop, making him the first Filipino and Asian to hold that title.

Lorenzo Baldisseri Italian cardinal

Lorenzo Baldisseri is an Italian cardinal. He has been the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops since 21 September 2013. He previously served as Secretary of the Congregation for Bishops after more than twenty years in the diplomatic service of the Holy See.

Franz-Josef Hermann Bode Roman Catholic bishop

Franz-Josef Hermann Bode is German prelate of the Catholic Church who has been Bishop of Osnabrück, Germany, since 1995. He has been a bishop since 1991 and Deputy Chairman of the German Bishops Conference since 2017. Within that Conference, he is considered one of the strongest advocates of expanding the role of women in the Church.

Theology of Pope Francis

Theology of Pope Francis focuses on what was most noted during his pontificate, including comparisons with his immediate predecessors. Elected on 13 March 2013, Francis was the first member of the Society of Jesus to be appointed Pope and the first non-European to hold the office since the 8th century. He described his papal name as pointing to what he wants to emulate in Saint Francis of Assisi: to have a poor church, for the poor; to be a lover of peace; and to show concern for the natural environment. His papal motto Miserando atque eligendo contains a central theme of his papacy, God's mercy. In addressing real life situations he often appeals directly to Jesus' emphases, which some commentators have described as highlighting the tensions between different aspects of the Catholic faith. He has become known also for his "sharp and unscripted remarks".

The Council of Cardinals (C9), also known as the Council of Cardinal Advisers, is a group of cardinals of the Catholic Church appointed by Pope Francis to serve as his advisers. Announced on 13 April 2013, one month after his election, it was formally established on 28 September of the same year. The council currently has six members, following the decision by Pope Francis to remove three of its members in late 2018.

Fourteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops Catholic Church Synod

The Fourteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, popularly referred to as the Synod on the Family, took place from 4 to 25 October 2015 with the theme of "the vocation and mission of the family in the Church and in the contemporary world." It was "reflect[ing] further on the points discussed" at the 2014 Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops "so as to formulate appropriate pastoral guidelines" for the pastoral care of the person and the family. The 2014 assembly of the Synod, called to define the status quaestionis and to collect the participants' experiences and proposals, can be understood as a preparation for the 2015 assembly, but they are meant to "form a single organic unity." It took place in the Synod Hall in the Paul VI Audience Hall in Vatican City.

The 15th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops took place 3–28 October 2018 and had as its theme "Young People, Faith, and Vocational Discernment". Its aim was to "accompany young people on their way of life towards maturity so that, through a process of discernment, they can discover their life project and realize it with joy, opening the encounter with God and with men, and actively participating in the building up of the Church and society".

Michael Czerny Canadian jesuit and cardinal

Michael F. Czerny is a Czechoslovakian-born Canadian Catholic Cardinal, a member of the Jesuits, whose work in Canada, Latin America, Africa, and Rome has promoted social justice. He has been under-secretary of the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development since 1 January 2017. Pope Francis created him cardinal on 5 October 2019.

The Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon region met in Rome from 6 to 27 October 2019. Pope Francis announced on 15 October 2017 that it would work "to identify new paths for the evangelization of God's people in that region", specifically the indigenous peoples who are "often forgotten and without the prospect of a serene future".


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Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Hermann Josef Spital
Bishop of Trier
Succeeded by
Stephan Ackermann
Preceded by
Friedrich Wetter
Archbishop of Munich and Freising
Preceded by
Robert Zollitsch
Chairman of the German Episcopal Conference
Succeeded by
Georg Bätzing