Cardinal Gerhard Muller, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has spoken out against adultery and those who are creating confusion about Amoris Laetitia.
Cardinal Gerhard Muller has rebuked bishops who are using Amoris Laetitia to “justify situations against the will of God.”
The Cardinal, who has previously spoken in favor of the document and seemingly against other cardinals critical of its interpretation has made it clear that adultery is a sin and that it should not be used to justify certain situations. One such situation could be a person who is married, but separated and is living with a new romantic partner and seeks to receive communion. Such a situation is against God’s will.
Furthermore, the Cardinal emphasized that nobody, not even a Pope, can change this.
“For us marriage is the expression of participation in the unity between Christ the bridegroom and the Church his bride. This is not, as some said during the Synod, a simple vague analogy. No! 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.”
He also said of Amoris Laetitia that it must, “clearly be interpreted in the light of the whole doctrine of the Church. […] It is not right that so many bishops are interpreting ‘Amoris Laetitia’ according to their way of understanding the Pope’s teaching. This does not keep to the line of Catholic doctrine.”
Amoris Laetitia, was issued by Pope Francis in April 2016 (dated March 19, 2016) and it calls the clergy to use pastoral judgement on the question of inviting divorced and remarried Catholics to communion.
In late 2016, four cardinals presented Pope Francis with a list of questions regarding their understanding of the document. Pope Francis felt the document was sufficiently clear to not warrant a response. Cardinal Muller also agreed with the Pope.
However, there may be some members of the clergy who think they can interpret the document in ultra-liberal fashion, which taken to the extreme can violate the will of God. Cardinal Muller has made clear such interpretations are also wrong.
Catholics who are in a state of sin, that is separated from God, are asked to refrain from communion until the situation has been corrected. Communion is the most intimate form of union with God possible on Earth. Just as a person would not consume food from a dirty plate, they should not consume the Body of Christ without soul cleansed of sin.
Nobody expects people to live without sin, for we our fallibility is part of our human condition. Yet we are given the gift of reconciliation so we can be made clean again in time for communion. A person who is living in a sinful situation should approach their pastor and endeavor to repent and correct their excess prior to seeking communion.
Making these corrections can be very difficult, even painful. But with God all things are possible. The Church desires all people come to the table for communion, but it is God, not the popes or cardinals who make the rules.
God is the judge we must all face, may we find the courage to always do His will.