AL Questions Linger in Wake of “Cardinal Mueller Report”

By Andrew Parrish


(ROME) – In a just-published book-length interview, Cardinal Mueller, head of the CDF, gives his opinions on a range of the Church’s most pressing questions. While echoing the 1985 Ratzinger Report in format, Cd. Mueller must address issues not present in his predecessor’s time – most obviously, the unresolved crisis of Amoris Laetitia. Cd. Mueller was interviewed last week on his book by Edward Pentin for the National Catholic Register.

Wasting no words, Mr.Pentin asks: “Parts of Amoris Laetitia are criticized for being geared too much to compromising on the Gospel, trying to be too much with the times; is the document, especially Chapter 8, of great concern to you?” The Cardinal responds in full:

“I have said it many times, and I repeat it here again: Matrimony is instituted by God the Creator and is elevated as a sacrament by Jesus Christ. By his mystery of salvation, it means that matrimony between Christians is a sign and instrument of the deeper unity with Jesus Christ and his nuptial relationship with the Church as his Bride.

Jesus established clearly, and without doubt, the indissolubility of valid matrimony. This is what we must preach, declare and explain to the Catholic faithful. Recognizing the indissolubility of marriage is a responsibility for all Catholic people. Marriage takes part in the new creation that is brought about by Jesus Christ and is a high, noble and mature choice for the Christian. We should help people who find themselves in a situation of marital difficulty, but not only with pragmatic reflections, according to the spirit of the world, but according to the Holy Spirit, with the means of the sacraments and the internal and canonical conditions for the reception of Holy Communion, which necessarily includes the confession of all grave sin.

Contrition, confession and reparation are the three necessary elements for absolution. These are the immediate conditions for receiving the Holy Eucharist, Jesus Christ, who is the same divine Person who forgives us.”

Cd. Mueller’s strong remarks come alongside a new development in the “dubia” story: Cd. Caffarra, on behalf of all four original signers, has publicly released an unanswered letter asking the Pope for a private audience to address the concerns they raised in November of last year. In this letter, Cd. Caffarra laments the state of “doctrinal anarchy” which has arisen:“And so it is happening — how painful it is to see this! — that what is sin in Poland is good in Germany, that what is prohibited in the archdiocese of Philadelphia is permitted in Malta. And so on. One is reminded of the bitter observation of B. Pascal: “Justice on this side of the Pyrenees, injustice on the other; justice on the left bank of the river, injustice on the right bank.”

(This precise situation, scarcely paralleled in Church history, is the grounds for the petition, addressed to the Holy Father, to remove the scandalous and confusing situation of a One and Catholic Church divided into warring geographic denominations.)

As Cd. Caffarra notes, the official pronouncement of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith appears to have had little or no effect. Thanks to the deliberately decentralized process of implementation, the bishops are still going their own way on the reception of communion by the divorced and remarried without an annulment.

In addition to this practical problem, however, Cd. Mueller still has not attacked the central issue head-on. Why cannot the divorced and remarried without an annulment simply go through the three-part process of “contrition, confession, and reparation” which the Cardinal mentions, proceed to receive Communion, and go right back to living together in sin?


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