Card. Müller’s book-length interview: refutes Communion for divorced and civilly remarried

You will want to look at what Sandro Magister posted today.  HERE

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?

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.”

And again:

“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”:


Go there to read the whole thing.

Dear readers, there are some things that we sinners get ourselves into which have no easy fixes.  Some things, as a matter of fact, can’t be fixed at all.  We have to accept the consequences of our actions and then get on as best we can, even suffering and asking for grace to bear the burden.  Some people have heavy crosses indeed.  God is with them.  He works with them.  We must be willing to bear crosses and ask God’s help and mercy, sometimes for the remainder of our earthly lives.  I have a doctor friend who once has a dissatisfied patient lament, “Do I have to take these pills forever?”  “No,” came the answer, “Just until you die.”  This is how it goes for some people.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. JonPatrick says:

    Even though a lot of Bishops seem to be coming out against communion for the divorced and remarried, I still worry about this upcoming Synod, knowing how in the past the progressives have been able to manipulate things their way even when in a minority – it happened at the 2nd Vatican Council, the NCCB when they pushed through communion in the hand, and so on. I pray that the Holy Spirit continues to protect the Church from falling into error.

  2. Mike says:

    I’ve said this a number of times, but I think it bears another go: when Muller was appointed a few years back, many Traditional Catholics (not at this blog) were going bonkers, saying he was an arch-heretic, etc. I have only read one book by the Prefect (on the deaconate and it’s excellent), so perhaps he does write some things that are a little questionable elsewhere, but here, on the GREAT issue of marriage, wouldn’t ya know, he’s God’s providential voice for the truth!

  3. Unwilling says:

    Fr. Z’s reference to St John’s “non battere le mani” with the Ratzinger quotation has been drifting back into my thoughts the past few days. “Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment.” [I intend to post to this thread.]

  4. Dundonianski says:

    This interview strikes me as a pre-emptive strike by Muller who is likely battling hard against his fellow German, Cardinal Kasper. Pope Francis publicly praised Kasper’s in February of this year when he described Kasper’s paper and reflection for the Synpd on the family as “a work of profound theology” and “a serene theological reflection” He Francis was so overwhelmed by this paper that he indicated that he re-read it! Muller clearly doesn’t buy into this profound theological serenity and it would not be unrealistic to opine that he, Muller, may consider the work to be doctrinally calamitous if not close to a heresy. Francis has an unequivocal theological regard and admiration for Kasper, who has proved many times with his writings and public utterances, that he is most certainly NOT doctrinally orthodox. [Many times? Cite five. That would be a service to all.] So where does that square the circle with Francis?

  5. Elizabeth D says:

    I <3 Cardinal Muller. And not only because he seemed to like my book, which is bound to endear the prefect of the CDF to an author.

    Also, there was a very good, very clear report created by the Eastern Province Dominican Friars of the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC, responding to the Kasperite proposal and published recently in a journal called Nova et Vetera. “Knocked it out of the park,” was the quotable assessment of at least one commentator.

    excerpt: “The assumption of the present proposals, however, is that such chastity is impossible for the divorced. Does this not contain a hidden despair about chastity and about the power of grace to conquer sin and vice?”

  6. VexillaRegis says:

    Regarding ordinary people’s distorted views on marrige and weddings, have a look at this youtube-clip (only 45 sec. long). This is what priests and organists are confronted with on a regular basis, sigh!

  7. Deacon Augustine says:

    “Francis has an unequivocal theological regard and admiration for Kasper, who has proved many times with his writings and public utterances, that he is most certainly NOT doctrinally orthodox. [Many times? Cite five. That would be a service to all.] ”

    To Dundonianski & Fr. Z., I will start the ball rolling:

    1. He defended the “Two covenants” theory of salvation and asserted that the Church has no mission to the Jews who “do not need to become Christians to be saved.” In the course of his arguments he claimed that the New Testament was anti-semitic and the books of Hebrews and Ephesians which teach the obsolescence of the Mosaic Covenant should be dropped from the Canon of Scripture or disregarded in this respect. These events took place around the time that the USCCB’s document “Reflections on Covenant and Mission” was causing such controversy – 2003 or 2004 IIRC.

    2. He was one of the main proponents of the primacy of particularity over universality in the governance of the Church in his efforts to establish de facto independence of national bishops’ conferences from Rome. The CDF under former Cardinal Ratzinger had to weigh in to the debate:

    3. Together with Cardinal Lehmann, he was the main protagonist of the German Bishops granting counselling certificates to pregnant women so that they could avail themselves of abortions. They defied the Vatican for years in continuing this monstrous policy against the directly expressed commands of St John Paul II.

    There are other instances when he has questioned defined dogmas of the faith, but I do not have the source material to hand. If anybody else would like to spend some time on google, I am sure they would come up with some interesting info? There is also an interesting story about how he and Lehmann extracted red hats from St JPII, but as the cardinal who related it is never likely to go on public record before he dies, that would only count as hearsay and not amount to public writings or utterances of Kasper.

  8. benedetta says:

    I’m confused. Fr. Z posts a fantastic interview with one Cardinal, and, instead of commenting thoughtfully on the interview posted, people start speculating wildly about someone altogether else?

  9. benedetta says:

    Be that as it may, I was interested in the part of the interview in which the Cardinal discusses the situation we find ourselves in where nominally or not practicing Catholics may request the sacrament without intention of living the grace of the sacrament within a Catholic marriage, as well as the possibility for that to occur at some point through process of conversion and growth even if the intention was not fully present or developed to begin with.

    In the 70s and 80s, the pastoral approach went something along these lines: in the past, Catholics were not really living their faith, because they were only conforming to cultural expectations and avoiding stigma by not divorcing etc. So, the explanation went, it was in fact a better situation for Catholics if there were such things as no fault divorce, plentiful synthetic hormones in form of pill to prevent children’s existence, abortion accessible, etc etc etc, because, now Catholics would not merely be conforming themselves to the structures of society but truly living the faith out of their own free will. They would choose a Catholic life out of love for God and neighbor, and not due to fear of just punishments or hell. This also included, “doing away with” the no meat on Fridays requirement, the communion fast, younger confirmation age, learning prayers and catechism, examination of conscience and frequent confession, Benediction, Latin, chant, habits…just about everything, I guess.
    Going a little further, the deposit of the faith was no longer passed down as a means and journey to salvation because this was replaced by subjectively developed individual conscience which did not need to know what the Church hoped for in order to make up one’s mind as to how to act. Also, with the celebration of the “historical” Jesus, all concluded that ancient scripture had nothing to say about modern life. Even solid preaching, or things like a discussion group on theology of the body were verboten due to the “pressure” it would place on young people to “conform” and deprive them of the choice in free will to choose the good on their own…

    It all sounded rather exciting to me, as a youth. However I had some particular helps that freed me to consider the good and were helps to me along the way. Many of my peers though, I guess we would say, most, the vast majority, were not so fortunate, and so, they make the same journey through life with all of the sickness of our times without the balm of the sacraments…Life is hard enough…why should they have to go it alone?

    Interestingly though now one can readily observe that young people in many places of the world are so totalitarian-like pressured to conform to an over commercialized, consumerist, survival of the fittest/might makes right, empty sex without love “society” (or social engineering) that they are for the most part wholly deprived of this grand choice which was fantasized about back in the heady 70s.

    So the answer to what has befallen, though no doubt there are people suffering and hurting from the over-secularization that some ushered in to afflict those who were entitled to their birthright of a life in Christ, who need specialized pastoral outreach, which we add to the great list of problems and areas the Church must attend to even while we limp along with for most religious orders, few vocations, and in some dioceses, very few new priests…well the answer does not seem to be to now say, to hell with Christian marriage altogether!

  10. Dundonianski says:

    My thanks to Deacon Augustine for his apposite examples for Fr Z on my behalf. Rather than slavishly recite further examples (is this like counting rosaries one wonders?) a useful source which I suspect Fr Z will be familiar with is “The Theses of Prof. Walter Kasper” circa 2003 (Die Thesen) The request for specified numbers reminds me of a BBC debate last year when a clergyman defender of “gay rights” suggested that there were only eight references to homosexuality ” in the whole bible” It struck me then that one God given prohibition was sufficient.

    [If it is indeed the case that there are “many” examples, let’s get as many as possible assembled into one place as a reference point.]

  11. Supertradmum says:

    Maybe it is because I have a childlike faith in Christ and His promise to the Church that I do not think that any pope will disregard the teachings of Our Lord Himself. I do not think there will be a change, despite Kasper and the press.

    As a divorced person with an annulment because of a marriage situation not under my control, I understand the pain of going through all the paper work and waiting for the Church’s decision. But, not once did I ever considered disobedience to Christ. I suppose I just love the Church and Christ more than any other person.

    Those who find themselves in irregular marriages have to choose a purgatorial existence, which is, in the end, a blessing. We cannot judge others, but I do know people in such “marriages” who live and brother and sister, but do not separate for the sake of the children. They do not go to Communion. They do go to Mass, however, which needs to be encouraged.

    Yes, we do have to accept consequences for our actions, either sinful or not, imprudent or not. But, the Church will not give in to those who do not love Christ enough to suffer.

    Christ promised to be with the Church through the Holy Spirit until He comes again. This is my faith.

  12. robtbrown says:

    Dundonianski says:
    This interview strikes me as a pre-emptive strike by Muller who is likely battling hard against his fellow German, Cardinal Kasper. Pope Francis publicly praised Kasper’s in February of this year when he described Kasper’s paper and reflection for the Synod on the family as “a work of profound theology” and ” serene theological reflection” He Francis was so overwhelmed by this paper that he indicated that he re-read it!

    Did the pope ever say he agreed with Cardinal Kasper?


  13. acardnal says:

    The Working Document (Instrumentum Laboris) for the upcoming October Synod on the Family contains no references to the Council of Trent, to Pope Leo XIII’s Arcanum and to Pius XI’s Casti Cannubii, all of which repeat the absolute indissolubility of marriage.

    It is de fide from the Council of Trent that a sacramental, consummated marriage is indissoluble. Father Ludwig Ott teaches, “From the sacramental contract of marriage emerges the Bond of Marriage, which binds both marriage partners to a lifelong indivisible community of life.”
    Along with the Canons on Marriage, the Council of Trent infallibly proclaims in Canon 2, “If anyone says that it is lawful for Christians to have several wives at the same time, and that it is not forbidden by any divine law [Matt. 19:4 f.]: let him be anathema.”

    Thus there can be no admission to the sacraments of any Catholic who is divorced, remarried and whose original spouse still lives. Such a Catholic has broken his marriage vows and, in the objective order, lives in mortal sin. This is not an open question for Catholics, but a solemnly established truth that goes back to Our Lord Himself, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery.” (Luke: 16:18).

  14. Johnno says:

    No wonder the wolves in the Vatican are trying so hard to make sure Muller stays out of the Synod. The decks are being stacked.

    And with regards to more of Pope Francis’ heretical statements. We can add the recent one from his ‘private’ (yet publicly published) speech to the Caserta Protestants.

    “The Holy Spirit creates “diversity” in the Church.”
    -The context of this was to Protestants declaring that their separated and schismatic ‘churches’ are due to the active will of the Holy Spirit who does not see this as ‘division’, but ‘diversity.’ A “reconciled diversity” in Francis’ own words.

    Further context:
    “We are in the age of globalization, and we wonder what globalization is and what the unity of the Church would be: perhaps a sphere, where all points are equidistant from the center, all are equal? No! This is uniformity. And the Holy Spirit does not create uniformity! What figure can we find? We think of the polyhedron: the polyhedron is a unity, but with all different parts; each one has its peculiarity, its charism.”
    – Francis is referring to the relationship between the Catholics and the Protestants who are his audience. The context is NOT about regular ‘diversity’ within Catholicism (Novus Ordo vs. Traditional Latin Mass / Franciscans vs. Jesuits / Priests vs. nuns.) He is referring to Catholics vs. Protestants & Schismatics.

    “This is unity in diversity. It is on this path that we, Christians, do what we call with the theological name of ECUMENISM. We try to have this diversity become more harmonized by the Holy Spirit and become unity.”
    – Francis is talking about Ecumenism! We only engage in ecumenism with those separated from the Church, not those within. The context Francis is referring to is that relationship between Catholics and Schismatics/Protestants! And Francis says this ‘diversity’ is really a ‘unity’ that the Holy Spirit desires and created!!!!

    Francis then goes on to suggest that everyone in the world is the “Flesh of Christ!” Which he derives as a meaning of the Incarnation stretching far beyond the words of St. John and what we understand the Incarnation to be! This Francis uses as another example of unity between Catholics and non-Catholics.

    Even more scandalous, Francis blasts those Catholics and martyrs of the past who he accuses of furthering disunity by not accepting the ‘diversity’ of the Protestants and heretics and who sought to curb this ‘diversity’ from happening!!! He compares these faithful Catholics who stood by the Church as racists who wanted to retain some sort of demented purity, compared to Josephs brothers who wanted to kill Joseph out of jealousy!!!

    “And these laws were sanctioned by the baptized! Some of those who made these laws and some of those who persecuted, denounced their Pentecostal brothers because they were “enthusiasts,” almost “madmen “ who ruined the race, some were Catholics … I am the Pastor of Catholics: I ask forgiveness for this! I ask forgiveness or those Catholic brothers and sisters who did not understand and who were tempted by the devil and did the same thing that Joseph’s brothers did. I ask the Lord to He give us the grace to admit and forgive … Thank you!”

  15. Dundonianski says:

    To robtbrown’s question “did the Pope ever say that he agreed with Cardinal Kasper?” I do not know, nor do I know if he definitively said that he did not agree.

  16. Imrahil says:

    I’m not saying I particularly like the general outline of Cdl Kasper’s positions (I don’t), but from the three points mentioned by the Very Honorable Deacon Augustine, one only seems to be actually unorthodox, to me.

    1) is not orthodox. I do think that politically speaking, the doctrine that, yes, Judaism is a wrong way, is in dire need of repetition by high authority. There may be a difference between saying nothing on the subject (knowing that saying the wrong thing gets you branded as unorthodox and saying the right thing gets you, however unjustifiedly, branded as antisemitic) and saying the wrong thing on the subject, but is it practically so big?

    2) As long as the independence of national churches is “de facto” and not “de jure”, and as long as the Pope retains the right to weigh in (however much it is suggested he should not use it), the thing is (imho) quite impractical, inefficient, and lacking of the filial attitude Catholics are wont to have versus the Pope, but it would not, imho, be unorthodox.

    3) The German bishops, whatever their failures, never consciously favored or accepted abortion. They did (with one notable exception) feel it the best policy to sign a note that counseling had taken place, which would in case of an abortion prevent legal punishment. (Note that abortion is as such forbidden in Germany – and even remains after the counseling; it is only left unpunished.) Their argument was that women would otherwise go to counseling to others, and that was still an opportunity to talk them out of it. That may be bad judgment, or not altogether impossibly the ecclesial offense of aiding in an abortion (I doubt that, but anyway it is, in spite of the high penalty of an excommunication, still a disciplinary, not a doctrinal offense) and certainly it was in difference to the papal wishes – though with again one exception, the German bishops obeyed when the Pope issued an actual order (around 2000) to quit the practice. Cdl Kasper was then already in Rome. Anyway the precise term of unorthodoxy does not hold here, too.

  17. benedetta says:

    As a matter of fact, Pope Francis did reiterate that the Synod’s focus was on pastoral outreach to families and did seem to distance himself from the idea that has been advanced in a few places (not most places by any means at this point) that the theme was to radically change doctrine on marriage.

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