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Full Version: CDF dismisses attempt of German diocese to admit divorced and remarried
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"In a letter dated 21 October and published in yesterday’s issue of Tagespost Archbishop Müller dismissed certain positions expressed in the Diocese of Freiburg’s proposal. Last 15 June, Tagespost published a lengthy article written by Müller, which did not look favourably on any potential softening of the Church’s stance on remarried divorcees. The article was published again by Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano. The Prefect’s letter was addressed to outgoing Robert Zollitsch - who is still in charge of the German Episcopal Conference for another month or so – and Germany’s bishops.


Müller recognises that the proposal Freiburg published at the start of October contains very correct and important pastoral teachings, but is unclear in its terminology and does not correspond with Church teaching in two points.” The first regards the possibility for couples who have remarried after divorce to “responsibly reach” a “decision of conscience” to receive communion. According to the document’s authors the parish priests and the community must respect this decision. Müller stressed that remarried divorcees must be encouraged to participate in Church life but they cannot be admitted to the Eucharist. To give them this right “would cause confusion among the faithful about the Church’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage (pastoral reason).”


The second criticism is regarding the prayer and blessing of remarried divorcees. Such celebrations were expressly forbidden by John Paul II and Benedict XVI: “Due to the aforementioned discrepancies, the draft text is to be withdrawn and revised, so that no pastoral directions are sanctioned which are in opposition to Church teaching,” Müller writes.


It was clear right from the start that instead of helping things, Freiburg’s proposal would have complicated the difficult preparation phase ahead of the Extraordinary Synod on the pastoral care of families. The Pope wants the participation in these discussions to be as wide-reaching as possible  and for local Churches to be involved as well. Here too, Müller was keen to remind people of the Church’s teaching on the subject. He republished his article in L’Osservatore Romano, rejecting outright any possibility of the Church softening its position. He rejected the Orthodox Church’s practice of blessing a second marriage for the spouse that has been abandoned, a practice Pope Francis had mentioned in his interview with journalists on his flight back from Rio after the World Youth Day celebrations. According to Tagespost, Müller’s article was apparently republished “after the Holy Father was consulted.”


Meanwhile, the Archbishop of Munich, Reinhard Marx, who is a member of Francis’ eight-member advisory Council of Cardinals openly criticised Müller’s article, stating: “The Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith cannot stop the discussions." He also said Müller’s  article was like a “fence” around Francis’ “field hospital” of mercy, an image Francis used to describe the duty the Church has towards the many wounded in today’s modern society."

It's interesting that Marx did not contribute to the discussion by providing any kind of substantive counter-argument to Muller's points. 

Discussions about even apparently settled points aren't always a bad thing, as St. Leo noted concerning the discussions at the Council of Chalcedon, even after he had already definitively ruled on the topic:

St. Leo Wrote:For lest the assent of other Sees to that which the Lord of all has appointed to take precedence of the rest might seem mere complaisance, or lest any other evil suspicion might creep in, some were found to dispute our decisions before they were finally accepted.  And while some, instigated by the author of the disagreement, rush forward into a warfare of contradictions, a greater good results through his fall under the guiding hand of the Author  of all goodness. For the gifts of God's grace are sweeter to us when they are gained with mighty efforts: and uninterrupted peace is wont to seem a lesser good than one that is restored by labours. Moreover, the Truth itself shines more brightly, and is more bravely maintained when what the Faith  had already taught is afterwards confirmed by further inquiry. And still further, the good name of the priestly office gains much in lustre where the authority of the highest is preserved without it being thought that the liberty of the lower ranks has been at all infringed. And the result of a discussion contributes to the greater glory  of God when the debaters exert themselves with confidence in overcoming the gainsayers: that what of itself is shown wrong may not seem to be passed over in prejudicial silence.