A leading German cardinal has signalled his sympathy for the idea of blessing gay couples on a case-by-case basis.

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, president of the German Bishops’ Conference, suggested that any decision was down to “the pastor on the ground, and the individual under pastoral care”.

According to the Catholic News Agency (CNA), he told the Bavarian state broadcaster: “It’s 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.”

Some have disputed CNA’s account of his words, saying he was not specifically “endorsing” the blessings.

The outlet has stood by its story, however, saying: “Our headline is intended to reflect that Cardinal Marx directly answered in the affirmative (‘yes’)” when the interviewer asked about “bless[ing] homosexual couples in the Church”.

Last month Bishop Franz-Josef Bode, vice president of the German Bishops’ Conference, called for a debate on whether Catholic clergy should bless same-sex unions.

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