Remarried divorcees, Communion – German bishops and Cardinal conflict

Remarried divorcees’ right to Communion is sparking a conflict in Germany.

On one side, several members of the Council of German Bishops endorse Communion for the divorced and remarried.

On the other, German Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, the Vatican’s doctrinal chief, says Communion for divorced and remarried  people is impossible.

“For us marriage is the expression of participation in the unity between Christ the bridegroom and the Church his bride,” he said.

“This is the substance of the sacrament, and no power in heaven or on earth, neither an angel, nor the pope, nor a council, nor a law of the bishops, has the faculty to change it.”

Of the 66 members of the German Council of Bishops, 27 say the remarried can receive Communion without resolving to live “as brother and sister”.

They say this is possible through “Differentiated solutions which are appropriate to the individual case”.

An accompanying statement says the solution will be found through “a decision-making process, accompanied by a priest”.

The permanent council of German bishops proposed Communion for the remarried in 2014, saying that it was “ a test of the Church’s credibility”.

Several German bishops distanced themselves from the 2014 statement.

At the subsequent Synod on the Family, not all bishops approved the proposal.

However, since the Pope released Amoris Laetitia, some have suggested Communion for the remarried is now possible.

Cardinal Müller says  Amoris Laetitia must be read “in the light of the whole doctrine of the Church”.

“I don’t like it, it is not right that so many bishops are interpreting Amoris Laetitia according to their way of understanding the Pope’s teaching,” he said.

“This does not keep to the line of Catholic doctrine.”

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