Cardinal Muller: no need to clarify Amoris Laetitia [CC]

Cardinal Gerhard Muller, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), has said that there is no need for clarification of Amoris Laetitia.


From article:

Speaking to a German television audience, Cardinal Müller said that the papal document is “very clear in its doctrine,” and does not conflict with traditional Church teaching regarding marriage and the Eucharist.” He said that in the apostolic exhortation, Pope Francis is asking pastors to help people who are living in irregular unions “to find a path for a new integration in the Church, according to the conditions of the sacraments.

Cardinal Müller himself has indicated that he does not interpret Amoris Laetitia as authorizing reception of Communion by Catholics who are divorced and remarried.

Bold test my emphases.

Isn’t a condition that the couple remain as brother and sister in continence if the validity of the former marriage cannot be determined? If Pope Francis is asking that couples be led on the pathway to meet conditions for Sacraments and this is one of them, then why are there not only laypeople, but clergy, who seem to have different interpretations regarding whether the divorced and remarried who do not have an anullement can receive Communion if they are not living in continence?

Surely those who think the door has been opened for Communion for divorced and remarried who are not annulled and not living in continence and those who believe Amoris Laetitia has not changed anything in regards to this, can not both be correct? But there is no apparent public correction of who is wrong given by the Vatican?

Is there going to be anything done to provide clarity because of the continuation of these differing interpretations creating confusion?

Vatican doctrine czar sees no need for ‘fraternal correction’ of Pope

ROME- The Vatican’s doctrinal czar believes Cardinal Raymond Burke’s threat to issue a “fraternal correction” of Pope Francis is “very remote,” because despite what the American prelate says, the papal document on the family Amoris Laetitia actually is very clear in its doctrine.

Speaking about a dubia letter Burke and three other cardinals sent to the pope late in 2016, urging him to respond to a series of yes or no questions regarding Amoris Laetitia and its provisions for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics, German Cardinal Gerhard Muller, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith acknowledged that everyone, “above all cardinals,” has the right to write a letter to the pope.

However, Muller added, “I am amazed that this became public, essentially constraining the pope to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’. I don’t like this.”

Regarding a possible formal correction, which Burke said he was willing to do if the pope continued to refuse to answer the question submitted last September, Muller stated that “it’s not possible in this moment, because it doesn’t concern a danger for the faith as St. Thomas said.”

Amoris Laetitia, which some believe offered a cautious opening for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive Communion, “is very clear in its doctrine and we can interpret the whole teaching of Jesus on Matrimony, the whole teaching of the Church in 2000 years of history,” Muller said.

The prelate’s words came as he was talking to Italian TV show Tgcom24 on Sunday, a little more than a month after he’d told German website Kathpress that it wasn’t his office’s role to “participate in the controversy of opinion,” but to speak with the authority of the pope.

The statement seems to say: read the document, the teaching is there; don’t try to say it isn’t.

It is encouraging to see him saying this. It’s not too much to hope for some clear guidance from the CDF in light of the media’s hey-dey, and it has been provided. In all honesty though, I saw controversy and spin before the dubia was made public. I heard people before they came out saying that the Church would allow Communion for divorced/remarried. They get their guidance from the media, so this statement is helpful. I’m kind of wondering sometimes why the hierarchy doesn’t always seem to act like they understand this. I know their hands are busy, and PR wasn’t exactly what they were probably hoping to deal with when they became priests. I think, however, that keeping up with the media is now spilling over into the realm of necessary pastoral concern if it means the truth can be distorted to the detriment of uninformed Catholics.

Vatican. Doctrine. Czar. :bigyikes:

I know, that made me laugh. City, Jan 9, 2017 / 12:16 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Vatican”s doctrinal head has challenged several cardinals’ public questioning of the doctrinal validity of Amoris laetitia, saying the document is “very clear” on doctrine, and that making the discussion public is harmful to the Church.

“Everyone, above all the cardinals of the Roman Church, have a right to write a letter to the Pope. However, I was amazed because this was made public, almost forcing the Pope to say yes or no,” Cardinal Gerhard Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said in a Jan. 8 interview with Italian TV channel Tgcom24.

“I don”t like this,” he said, adding that “it”s does damage to the Church to discuss these things publicly.”

The interview took place just two months after a letter signed by four prominent cardinals requesting that Pope Francis “resolve the uncertainties and bring clarity” was made public.

They submitted five “dubia,” or doubts, about the interpretation of Amoris laetitia to be clarified by its author, and also made a point to draw the dubia to the attention of Cardinal Muller.

The signatories were Cardinals Walter Brandmuller, president emeritus of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences; Raymond Burke, patron of the Order of Malta and prefect emeritus of the Apostolic Signatura; Carlo Caffarra, Archbishop Emeritus of Bologna; and Joachim Meisner, Archbishop Emeritus of Cologne.

Although they sent the letter privately in September, after receiving no response from the Pope they published it in November, saying in a forward published alongside the letter that they interpreted the Pope”s silence as “an invitation to continue the reflection, and the discussion, calmly and with respect. And so we are informing the entire people of God about our initiative, offering all of the documentation.”

Debate erupted after the publication of the dubia, and rumors have come out saying that should the Pope continue his silence, the cardinals could issue a formal correction of the Pope.

In his comments to Tgcom24, Cardinal Muller said that a correction of the Pope “seems very remote, it”s not possible right now because this is not a danger to the faith as St. Thomas said.”

“We are very far from a correction and I say it is a loss to the Church to discuss these things publicly. *Amoris laetitia *is very clear in its doctrine and we can interpret (in it) Jesus” entire doctrine on marriage, the entire doctrine of the Church in 2000 years of history.”

What Pope Francis asks in the document, Cardinal Muller said, is “to discern the situation of these people who live in an irregular union … and to help these people to find a path for a new integration into the Church according to the conditions of the sacraments, of the Christian message of marriage.”

“I don”t see any opposition,” he said. “On one hand we have the clear doctrine on marriage, on the other hand the obligation of the Church to worry about these people in difficulty.”

Cardinal Muller has consistently maintained that Pope Francis’ 2016 apostolic exhortation on love in the family has not changed the Church’s discipline on admission of the divorced-and-remarried to Communion, and that it must be read in continuity with the preceding Magisterium.

In a May 4 speech, he countered arguments that *Amoris laetitia *eliminated Church discipline on marriage and allowed in some cases the divorced-and-remarried to receive the Eucharist “without the need to change their way of life.” He stated: “This is a matter of a consolidated magisterial teaching, supported by scripture and founded on a doctrinal reason.”

If Pope Francis’ exhortation “had wanted to eliminate such a deeply rooted and significant discipline, it would have said so clearly and presented supporting reasons,” Cardinal Muller said during his address at a Spanish seminary.

The dubia and Cardinal Muller’s response demonstrate the varied reception and interpretation of the apostolic exhortation within the Church.

Some, like Robert Spaemann and the cardinals of the dubia, have maintained it is incompatible with Church teaching; and others, like Cardinal Muller, that it has not changed the Church’s discipline.

Still others, like Norbert Ludecke, read Amoris laetitia as opening the way to a new pastoral practice, or even (e.g., Rocco Buttiglione, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn) as a progression in continuity with St. John Paul II.

Full article…

One other thing that he stated in Dec was

In the interview, Cardinal Müller said that the CDF’s 1994 letter to bishops was still Church teaching, and that Pope Francis’s recent document, Amoris Laetitia, had not altered anything in this regard.

Here is the Letter to which +Muller refers

  1. Members of the faithful who live together as husband and wife with persons other than their legitimate spouses may not receive Holy Communion. Should they judge it possible to do so, pastors and confessors, given the gravity of the matter and the spiritual good of these persons as well as the common good of the Church, have the serious duty to admonish them that such a judgment of conscience openly contradicts the Church’s teaching. Pastors in their teaching must also remind the faithful entrusted to their care of this doctrine.

Given that, it seems the good Cardinal is correct. There is nothing for the Pope to clarify. The teaching is perfectly clear.


What’s the bottom line?

Exactly… and not a joke either.

So that means the following statements out of Amoris Laetitia are very clear then.

AL 297 “….No one can be condemned for ever, because that is not the logic of the Gospel! Here I am not speaking only of the divorced and remarried, but of everyone, in whatever situation they find themselves….”


I didn’t mean it as a joke. I should have phrased my question better maybe by asking: what’s the final word on AL?

“Cardinal Müller himself has indicated that he does not interpret Amoris Laetitia as authorizing reception of Communion by Catholics who are divorced and remarried.”

Well, I’m glad that’s clarified, once again.

It seems to me that, despite the best efforts of many, the final word (people in irregular situation receiving communion) seems to belong to each individual reading/interpreting it. Some say “yes”; some say ““no”; some say “maybe”: some say”??".

Cardinal Muller says “no”. Cardinal Burke says “ambiguous and confusing”. Cardinal Cupich says “It’s clear to me/a game changer.” Bishop McElroy says “probablly/likely yes”. Argentinian bishops say “yes?”. Cardinal Napier says “What about polygamy?” (I am paraphrasing)

It does not seem that Pope Francis will answer the Dubia which address the ambiguity in AL any time soon, or possibly ever. I do believe that the sheer weight of confusion and division within the Church will be so overwhelming that a Papal clarification (either from Pope Francis or his successors) will eventually be issued.

If I don’t laugh at your post, I will cry. Welcome to the Catholic Church of 2017. :confused:

Nice recap. I don’t understand why anyone would think that, in light of this, clarity is not needed. It’s not as if the Church has never reiterated the same teaching and/or issued clarifications on various other topics over and over to ensure clear understanding. This instance is no different, especially when the confusion has been so publicly manifest.

Well put. No matter how it’s spun, that the documents themselves are supposedly clear, it appears that various numbers of individuals including bishops are making polar opposite decisions as to how the teaching is applied.

And that is a problem. This is exactly how the Protestant Churches went from reading documents from the Lambeth Conference regarding contraception in which the use was to be permitted only to married couples in very rare circumstances and with the guidance of clergy to 'contraception is a positive necessity due to the need for prevention of unwanted pregnancy for any woman for any reason, and climate change, as well as empowering women, so therefore a positive good."

This sounds like an accurate summary to me. It’s almost comical.

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