Müller: "These Theories Are Radically Mistaken"
The prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith refutes the ideas of those who want to permit second marriages with the first spouse still alive. He is backed up by Cardinal Sebastián, who also disagrees with Cardinal Kasper. But whose side is Pope Francis on?
by Sandro Magister
ROME, July 29, 2014 – In a book-length interview recently released simultaneously in Italy, Spain, and the United States, Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, revisits and develops what he had already reiterated last fall in an article in “L’Osservatore Romano” that made a sensation:
Divorced and Remarried. Müller Writes, Francis Dictates (23.10.2013)
In that article, Müller dwelt above all on the question of communion for the divorced and remarried, reiterating the reasons for the prohibition.
Already at the time, in fact, even at the higher levels of the hierarchy there were some who maintained the need for the Church to remove this ban.
And at the consistory in February of this year this change was upheld by the one whom Pope Francis had charged with introducing the discussion, Cardinal Walter Kasper:
Kasper Changes the Paradigm, Bergoglio Applauds (1.3.2014)
In the following months, Kasper’s ideas prompted particularly vigorous public reactions from cardinals Carlo Caffarra, Velasio De Paolis, Walter Brandmüller, and Thomas Collins.
But now it is again the prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith who is intervening forcefully in defense of the traditional doctrine.
The interview was conducted last June by Carlos Granados, director of the Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos in Madrid. It was reviewed by the cardinal and has as its backdrop the upcoming synod of bishops, dedicated to the theme of the family.
In the preface another cardinal, former Pamplona archbishop Fernando Sebastián Aguilar, writes:
"The main problem present in the Church with regard to the family is not the small number of the divorced and remarried who would like to receive Eucharistic communion. Our most serious problem is the great number of baptized who marry civilly and of sacramentally married spouses who do not live marriage or the marital life in harmony with Christian life and the teachings of the Church, which would have them be living icons of Christ’s love for his Church present and working in the world.”
Cardinal Sebastián received the scarlet from Pope Francis, who has great esteem for him. But he certainly cannot be numbered among the supporters of Kasper’s theses.
In the interview Cardinal Müller also criticizes those who back themselves up with some of the statements of Pope Francis, bending them in support of a “pastoral” change on marriage.
He says, for example:
“The image of the field hospital is very beautiful. Nonetheless we cannot manipulate the pope by reducing the whole reality of the Church to this image. The Church in itself is not a hospital: the Church is also the house of the Father.”
“A simple ‘adaptation’ of the reality of marriage to the expectations of the world does not bear any fruit, but rather turns out to be counterproductive: the Church cannot respond to the challenges of the modern world with a pragmatic adaptation. In opposing an easy pragmatic adaptation, we are called to choose the prophetic audacity of martyrdom. With this we can bear witness to the Gospel of the holiness of marriage. A lukewarm prophet, through an adjustment to the spirit of the time, would be seeking his own salvation, not the salvation that only God can give.”
The following is an extract of the passages from the interview dedicated to the question of communion for the divorced and remarried, in which Müller also refutes another mantra associated with Pope Francis, that of “mercy”:
(the article then continues with a section from the interview)