New prefect speaks as if doctrine is a matter of opinion while Cdl. Müller is muted
[Again ChurchMilitant overlooks the 800-lb. gorilla who created the super-dicastery (apparently above the CDF in rank), made Bp. Farrell its prefect (and also a cardinal), and muted Cdl. Muller’s comments on the issue]
by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th. • ChurchMilitant • December 6, 2016
VATICAN – The prefect of the newly established super-dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life is critical of those who oppose his liberal interpretation of “Amoris Laetitia” (AL), while sidelining the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) by brushing off doctrinal objections to AL as mere differences of opinion.
Cardinal Kevin Farrell in comments he made recently in the liberal U.K paper The Tablet “criticized opponents of the papal exhortation ‘Amoris Laetitia’ for closing their minds to ‘certain nuances that exist in the life of people.'” He added that such critics “wished the world were ‘more perfect then [sic] it truly is.'”
The new cardinal of the recently formed super-dicastery, which began operating in September, further downplayed the doctrinal concerns voiced by prelates who insist that interpreting AL so as to allow sexually active divorcees to receive Holy Communion would contradict Church teaching.
“It doesn’t surprise me in the least that there would be differences of opinion — there are differences of opinion as to which way you say the ‘Hail Mary,'” he said, “there are differences of opinion as to how we celebrate the Mass and which language we use.”
In October, Cdl. Farrell professed that AL “is faithful to the doctrine and to the teaching of the Church.” Referring to Pope St. John Paul II’s 1981 papal exhortation “Familiaris Consortio” the cardinal proclaimed of AL, “It is carrying on the doctrine of ‘Familiaris Consortio’ of John Paul II. I believe that passionately.”
But Cdl. Gerhard Müller, prefect of the CDF, seems to disagree. He was asked last week to weigh in on the doctrinal questions contained in the official questions, or “dubia,” on AL sent in a recent letter submitted by Cdl. Raymond Burke and three cardinals to Pope Francis, asking specifically whether AL allows civilly remarried adulterers to receive Holy Communion.
It was then that Cdl. Müller brought up the CDF’s 1994 rejection written by Cdl. Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) of such “pastoral” proposals. Cardinal Müller affirmed that AL “should not be interpreted as if the teachings of earlier Popes and the CDF on the subject were no longer binding.”
In this 1994 letter cited by Cdl. Müller, Cdl. Ratzinger’s reasoning disagrees with that of Cdl. Farrell, declaring:
If the divorced are remarried civilly, they find themselves in a situation that objectively contravenes God’s law. Consequently, they cannot receive Holy Communion as long as this situation persists. … The faithful who persist in such a situation may receive Holy Communion only after obtaining sacramental absolution … when for serious reasons, for example, for the children’s upbringing, a man and a woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate, they take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples.
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