At The Wanderer yesterday, Maike Hickson provided a summary translation of recent comments from Cardinal Brandmüller reiterating Church teaching on marriage on the eve of the Synod:
“It is the Church’s magisterial teaching (Dogma) that a validly contracted and consummated marriage cannot be dissolved by any power of the world – also not by the Church herself.” Brandmüller reminds the readers that this teaching has been re-affirmed by both the Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio (1981) by Pope John Paul II and the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1997).
Brandmüller clearly says that he “who, in spite of an existing marriage bond, enters after a divorce into a new civil union, is committing adultery” and that – as long as that person “is not willing to put an end this situation” – he “cannot receive either absolution in Confession nor the Eucharist (Holy Communion).” Any other path, the cardinal insists, would be “bound to fail” due to “its inherent untruthfulness.” He continues: “This is valid also with regard to the attempt to integrate into the Church those who live in an invalid ‘second marriage’ by admitting them to liturgical, catechetical and other functions.” This path, in his eyes, would lead to “conflicts,” “embarrassments,” and an “undermining of the Church’s sacred proclamation.”
The Cardinal continues by saying that such newly attempted proposals “reveal themselves as attempts – with the help of ‘salami tactics’ – to finally admit these couples to the Sacraments.” He adds: “The ‘way out’, in order to allow exceptions, is an impasse. What is fundamentally impossible for reasons of Faith, is also impossible in the individual case.”
The German cardinal concludes his statement with the important sentence: “The post-synodal document, Amoris Laetitia, is therefore to be interpreted in light of the above-presented principles, especially since a contradiction between a papal document and the Catechism of the Catholic Church would not be imaginable.”
The bishops were supposed to have gotten embargoed copies of the document prior to tomorrow’s press conference, so it’s safe to assume, I think, that the good cardinal is offering a specific, pre-emptive analysis of its contents in the form of a general restatement of specific Church teachings.
In other words: when the document is released tomorrow, expect it to assert something different than what he’s saying.
Steve Skojec is the Founding Publisher and Executive Director of OnePeterFive.com. He received his BA in Communications and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2001. His commentary has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Crisis Magazine, EWTN, Huffington Post Live, The Fox News Channel, Foreign Policy, and the BBC. Steve and his wife Jamie have seven children.