It’s no secret that marriage crisis are widespread. The Church concerned about Catholics who are divorced and remarried without an annulment, has promised to offer them spiritual help and it encouraged them to go to Mass and participate in the life of the Church since they can’t be admitted to Holy Communion.
During an interview with the German daily Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger published on Tuesday, Cardinal Gerhard Müller said, “The Pope always says that it is not about Holy Communion alone, but about integration within the life of the Church
The final step of this process, the Cardinal said, may be the reception of Holy Communion, “after a process of conversion and repentance, if the generally valid prerequisites for this are fulfilled."
“A second marriage or a second spouse, as long as the rightful spouse is still alive, is not possible according to the Catholic interpretation of the words of Jesus."
“The Pope and all of us however want to carefully avoid people ‘drifting away’ from the Church as community of salvation," he continued.
There are other forms of participation in the life of the Church that are “valuable and legitimate," the cardinal noted.
“Community with God and the Church is not only constituted in the oral reception of Holy Communion."
“And that teaching is, after all: ‘What God therefore has joined together, let no man separate’. There can be no compromise there, by which we as humans would turn the clear word of God into something vague. A sound pastoral approach is the opposite of relativizing the words of Christ."
The cardinal reiterated the bishops teachings explaining that the Church does not impose this as a form of punishment, but because the way of life of such people goes against the sacrament of marriage.
Muller added that reception of Holy Communion by the divorced-and-remarried must also take “into consideration the manifold situations upon which the process of reconciliation is predicated."
“The Church is not able to dissolve or suspend a valid and truly sacramental marriage."
Cardinal Müller responded to comments by the interviewer: “That is also what the apostles thought, when Jesus explained to them the indissolubility of marriage (cf. Matthew 19:10). But what seems to us human beings to be impossible, is made possible by the grace of God."
Pope Francis has made a number of statements that the Church needs to reach out pastorally to the divorced and civilly remarried.