Cardinal Reinhard Marx, president of the German Bishops’ Conference, said that Catholic priests should on an individual basis decide whether or not to preside over blessing ceremonies for homosexual couples.

During an interview broadcast on the Bavarian State Broadcasting service Marx called for “the situation of the individual, their life-story, their biography, their relationships” to be taken more seriously and for the individuals to be accompanied accordingly.

He recently called for an individualised approach to pastoral care subject neither to general regulations nor to relativism. Marx said what he was proposing was “about pastoral care for individual cases, and that applies in other areas as well, which we cannot regulate, where we have no sets of rules”.

February 23: Day of Prayer and Fasting

Pope Francis has launched a special Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace for war-torn nations, particularly for the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan that are suffering protracted conflict. He invited all men and women, regardless of their religious denomination, to join.

Addressing crowds gathered in St Peter’s Square for the Angelus, the Pope said that “faced with the tragic protracted situations of conflict in different parts of the world, I invite all the faithful to take part in a special Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace on February 23, the Friday of the first week of Lent”.

He said our prayers will be offered especially to those suffering violence in the DRC and in South Sudan, and he continued, as on other similar occasions, “I also invite non-Catholic and non-Christian brothers and sisters to join this initiative in whatever ways they deem most appropriate”.

‘Usury humiliates and kills’ – Pope

In an audience with the National Anti-Usury Council, Pope Francis said: “Usury humiliates and kills. It is an ancient and unfortunately still concealed evil that, like a snake, strangles its victims. It must be prevented, by removing people from the pathology of debts accrued to get by or to save a business.

“And it can be prevented by educating in a sober lifestyle, able to distinguish between the superfluous and the necessary, and which promotes responsibility in not assuming debts to obtain things that could be renounced. It is important to restore the virtue of poverty and sacrifice: of poverty, so as not to become slaves to commodities, and sacrifice, because in life you cannot receive everything.

“Usury is a serious sin: it kills life, tramples on the dignity of people, is a vehicle for corruption and hampers the common good.”

(Compiled by Fr Joe Borg)


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