German Church disputes CDF's ruling on Divorce and Communion

“Church officials in Germany have defended plans by the country’s bishops’ conference to allow some divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion, insisting they have the Pope’s endorsement.”

Now, that, is really absurd. You can’t appeal to an exhortation from the Pope which didn’t even specifically address the problem to ignore the rulings of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

To allow divorced Catholics who remarry outside the Church to receive the Eucharist would be a grave insult to the sacrament of Marriage and the Lord in Eucharist. It would basically annihilate the Church teaching on the permanence of marriage and basically say that the State of our soul does not make a difference when we receive Eucharist, and makes the entire concept of mortal sin irrelevant.

I absolutely agree with you, and I pray this turns out well.

This might prove to be the German Church’s own “Winnipeg Statement” moment. Sad. :frowning:

So it goes…

Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, reaffirmed in October Church teaching that prohibits divorced and remarried Catholics from receiving Communion without an annulment. His announcement came after Freiburg archdiocese issued guidelines making Communion available to divorced and remarried parishioners…In an October 8 letter to Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, president of the German bishops’ conference, the prefect said the archdiocese’s guidelines contained “unclear terminology” and violated Church teaching by suggesting remarried Catholics could take a “responsible decision in conscience” to receive sacraments after consulting their priest. But Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising, one of eight members of the international Council of Cardinals advising the Pope on reform of the Roman Curia, criticised the stance. He said Archbishop Müller could not “end the discussion”.

Cardinal Marx seems to be supporting the other German officials? How will this work owing to the fact that he is on the Pope’s advisory council of 8?

This should be interesting to watch, to see how this plays out.

I have the impression that the laity working for the dioceses in Germany are behind this. I honestly believe most of the bishops here are weak leaders.

As to Marx, I wouldn’t read too much into it. All he said was that the discussion cannot be ended. He did not necessarily give his support to the disputed document.

Well, I always thought Christ’s words on the matter were “**ALL sins can be forgiven, **except blasphemy of the Holy Spirit”.

I don’t see any other exceptions, including divorce. Christ may have taken a hard line against divorce, but He was also protesting against the prevailing Jewish practice of easy divorce by Jewish husbands, similar to that now enjoyed by Moslem husbands, if my understanding of the context is correct.

Remember His words to the woman caught in adultery, with the usual double standard that they didn’t bring the bloke as well, who must have been present since she was allegedly caught in the act.

John 8:1-11 NIV

"1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11 “No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

I wonder what He’d write on the ground about those of us who feel the divorced should not be forgiven, and given another chance?

Or I’ll put it this way. At the moment, there’s a movement afoot in the Catholic Church called “The New Evangelism”. While the intention is certainly sincere and real, my own impression is that the Catholic Church doesn’t know how to go about it. It’s too hung up on it’s traditions, rules and doing everything by the book.

Now I’m not the Billy Graham evangelistic type, being happier with a more intellectual approach, so it’s a bit hypocritical of me to make this point.

But I know this much - if you’re not prepared to make room for sinners in your midst, including the divorced, and especially considering the current moral state of the West, ** you may as well forget all about evangelism.**

It will go absolutely nowhere.

I don’t think this is really about the New Evangelism. This is about the Body and Blood of Christ. If even great Saints counted themselves unworthy to receive, we have to be extremely careful about distributing it indiscriminately. (This idea goes back to 1 Corinthians, by the way; the Church’s tradition, in this case, builds on St. Paul)

It’s too hung up on it’s traditions, rules and doing everything by the book.

I’d debate that, but I’d also say that without rules, things dissolve into chaos (look at the “mainline” Protestant churches or the “premillenial” crowd - or, for an even more terrifying example, Western civilization as a whole). The Church isn’t excluding the divorced; in fact, they are called to be members of the Body of Christ.

But I know this much - if you’re not prepared to make room for sinners in your midst, including the divorced, and especially considering the current moral state of the West, ** you may as well forget all about evangelism.**

We come to the crux of the matter. Should the Church compromise with the current moral state of the West, or should it hold us to a higher standard of conduct? I’d say the latter. It would have been easy for the Church to make its peace with paganism during the Roman Empire, when it was weaker - but it did not. Things aren’t too different today.

It will go absolutely nowhere.

I sympathize with what you’re saying, but the Eucharist isn’t something we can afford to take lightly. (And from a purely practical point of view, if we grant it to those who are in irregular unions, we embark upon a very slippery slope, given the moral state of the West. Two words: Gay Rights.) :wink:

Correct, all sins CAN be forgiven,

If someone commits the sin of adultery by remarriage after divorce, that most certain can be forgiven. But the Church would be quite correct is following the example of Christ in telling them to sin no more.

The forgiveness of sin contingents on someone repenting from the sin. If the person goes to confession, confesses the adultery that they did, offers their sorrow and having committed adultery and (in the Act of Contrition) promises to avoid committing the act of adultery in the future, they can most certainly be admitted to Holy Communion.

I don’t think you understand Church teaching very well. :shrug:

The Church is perfectly willing to grant absolution to those that have been divorced and remarried and it does so all the time. The problem comes in with those who want to be in full communion with the Church while not repenting and continuing to live in an adulterous relationship. Christ said to the women, Go and Sin no more. Not go and do whatever feels good.

:thumbsup: Very well said.

I’m wondering if you read the whole article. It referred to “divorced and **re-married **Catholics”.

It also mentioned the need for reconciliation and a new beginning.

There seems to be a lack of forgiveness in some circles.

Meanwhile, Bishop Stephan Ackermann of Trier told the Trierischen Volksfreund daily that the sacraments offered a “chance for reconciliation and a new beginning.” He said the Church needed a “more intense and honest account of the concrete reality facing many couples and families”.

If a Catholic is divorced and remarries without an annulment, it is an adulterous relationship.

Yes, and without an annulment, that IS adultery

He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.”

It also mentioned the need for reconciliation and a new beginning.

There seems to be a lack of forgiveness in some circles.

Forgiveness will always follow repentance. Are you stating that the people involved now repent of their adultery? Or is that that they expect the Church to offer them Holy Communion while they maintain an adulterous relationship?

Forgiveness of sin is conditional on making a firm purpose of amendment, to avoid the near occasion of sin. The rich man who exploited the poor is forgiven; assuming that he won’t do that anymore. The man who hurt people driving while intoxicated is forgiven, because he is repentant. In other words, he now avoids the bars altogether, not even for some soft drinks. The unmarried couple that began living as man and wife 6 months ago is forgiven; repentance includes living apart now. Forgiveness is connected to repentance and conversion; changing one’s behavior.

Suppose the rich man goes to confession each month, and continues to exploit the poor. “Forgiveness” does him no help at all. Would his confessor be cruel to deny him absolution if he refuses to make changes in his life?

We live in an era that is bitterly opposed to conversion. People want churches that flatter them, reassure them that whatever their actions are, that’s ok. Come as you are, stay as you are. Sadly, other churches have drifted away from the call to conversion, to focus on making everyone feel spiritual, just as you are, sugar and blessings every week, no changes needed.

That isn’t the Catholic Church.

I understand there is a move towards even greater decentralization of the Catholic Church. I guess we should be careful for what we ask.

This is what I was going to say. Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I think Card Marx said this after Muller’s response, but before this statement from the German Bishops. If thats right, it means he doesn’t necessarily support them here.

Jeez. If they’ve been married, raised a family, and otherwise tried to do the right thing, don’t you think it’s about time the Church gave them the opportunity to start again?

Like I said in my second post, the Church is trying to run the “new evangelism”. I don’t think it’s got much chance frankly. It’s too rigid.

Too rigid for following Christ’s words? Mark 10:9 “What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” That seems like a bad way to evangelize.

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