In tomorrow’s edition of L’Osservatore Romano there is a long essay (4000+ words) by the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbp. Müller, on the hotly-debate issue of Communion for the divorced and remarried. (I haven’t checked it against the Italian yet.)
I mentioned that I had been hearing rumblings about a piece in L’O for a little while. This seems to be it.
Müller opposes the various solutions that have been presented for the divorced and remarried. This is not to say that the Prefect believes it impossible for the Church ultimately to find a solution to the dilemma. Rejecting some proposed solutions is different from rejecting any possible solution. (Please, those of you in Columbia Heights, don’t freak out when you read that and dash about like Chicken Little. Theologians make distinctions. Rejection of proposed solutions could be part of a process.)
At the core of Müller’s piece there seems to be a dismantling of all the arguments that depend mostly on “mercy” without the concomitant dimension of justice, the Lord’s own teaching, etc.
This is going to be spun by the left as the Bad Guy’s attempt to stop Francis.
Müller won’t be presented as the voice of reason. No, he will be the Bad Guy.
Fishwrap will say something nasty about him, something personal, like, “Now that Müller is secure in his appointment as Prefect, he feels free to attack ‘mercy’.”
Then they will find a picture of Müller scowling.
It is so predictable.
Here is a sample from Müller’s piece:
A further case for the admission of remarried divorcees to the sacraments is argued in terms of mercy. Given that Jesus himself showed solidarity with the suffering and poured out his merciful love upon them, mercy is said to be a distinctive quality of true discipleship. This is correct, but it misses the mark when adopted as an argument in the field of sacramental theology. The entire sacramental economy is a work of divine mercy and it cannot simply be swept aside by an appeal to the same. An objectively false appeal to mercy also runs the risk of trivializing the image of God, by implying that God cannot do other than forgive. The mystery of God includes not only his mercy but also his holiness and his justice. If one were to suppress these characteristics of God and refuse to take sin seriously, ultimately it would not even be possible to bring God’s mercy to man. Jesus encountered the adulteress with great compassion, but he said to her “Go and do not sin again” (Jn 8:11). God’s mercy does not dispense us from following his commandments or the rules of the Church. Rather it supplies us with the grace and strength needed to fulfil them, to pick ourselves up after a fall, and to live life in its fullness according to the image of our heavenly Father.