Vatican City (kath.net/KNA) Many commentators believe that after the Pope's Letter on Marriage and Family "Amoris laetitia," there was a possible admission of remarried divorcees to communion in individual cases. In the interview with the Katholischen Nachrichten-Agentur (KNA), Cardinal Walter Brandmüller (87) explained how he thinks this is a misinterpretation, for example, how the footnote number 351 is read and that "Amoris laetitia" can be a "wake-up call" for the Catholic Church in Germany.
KNA: your Eminence, you were described by the newspaper "Bild" as a critic of the post-synodal letter "Amoris laetitia" of Pope Francis. What do you not like about this document on marriage and family?
Brandmüller: On that I must disagree. This is a misrepresentation of the facts. I have not yet publicly expressed myself after the publication of the letter. I have published an aid to interpreting the expected document only before publication. So to talk about a criticism is also incorrect.
KNA: In your guide to interpretation you speak against any exceptions for the admission of those divorced and remarried in individual cases. But many commentators have understood "Amoris laetitia" exactly as this. Are your fears justified then?
Brandmüller: Yes, some interpretations in fact go wrong. To allow exceptions in individual cases is a dead end. I made that clear in my aid to interpretation. What is fundamentally impossible for reasons of faith, it is also in the individual case. This was prior to the appearance of "Amoris laetitia" as well as afterwards. It is Catholic doctrine that a validly concluded and consummated marriage can not be dissolved by any power on earth - certainly not by the Church. Jesus says: "What God has joined together, man must not separate." And: Whoever divorces his wife from the marriage and marries another, commits adultery against her. Even a woman commits adultery when she divorces her husband and marries another." So now the question: Can I really receive the body and blood of Jesus Christ, that is, Himself, being aware what He said and yet disregarding it?
KNA: Pope Francis himself answered the question in the affirmative, if through his writing, where "specific new possibilities" for the divorced and remarried have been created. What are these then?
Brandmüller: There are parts of the letter "Amoris Laetitia" that are very beautiful and leading spiritually into the depths and has more significant things to offer than answers to the marginal problems of the so-called remarried divorcees. Anyone who thinks there is an opportunity to receive absolution and communion in "Amoris laetitia", they would have to seek it in the footnote 351 in Chapter 8. There is talk that such believers in the Church could be provided the means to the Sacraments, in certain cases. This was interpreted in fact in the said sense.
But: the nature of specific cases which might be, remains unsaid. Also, it must be asked whether a footnote of about three lines is sufficient to overthrow the entire teachings of popes and Councils on this subject. Certainly not! Rather this footnote should be interpreted even more strictly in accordance with the constant teaching of the Church. The Church can not contradict itself.
KNA: What does this writing mean for the Catholic Church in Germany?
Brandmüller "Amoris laetitia" should really serve as a wake up call in Germany. It is now at last insists not only upon focusing in the marriage preparation on sociology and psychology, but to convey the profound teaching of the Church on the sanctity and beauty of authentic marriage and helps young people to succeed in marriage and a hand at building a family.
The Regensburg Bishop, Rudolf Voderholzer recently made this insightfully important point: especially the pastorally unilateral acts should cease that negate the Church's credibility and bring about disagreement and confusion. "Amoris laetitia" could be the new start to an ecclesial pastoral care of marriage, if one choses to align pastoral practice clearly with the doctrine of the faith. Everything else would fail from its own inner untruthfulness. (C) 2016 CBA Catholic News Agency. All rights reserved. Photo: (c) kath.net
Trans: Tancred firstname.lastname@example.org