Cardinals join to defend Church doctrine on divorce, remarriage

Vatican City, Sep 9, 2014 / 03:10 am .- Five members of the College of Cardinals have joint-authored a book defending Church doctrine regarding divorced and remarried Catholics, affirming that it is the most merciful approach.

Set to be published in English this October, the book is entitled “Remaining in the Truth of Christ: Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church.” It offers a response to Cardinal Walter Kasper’s call for the Church to open its doors to allow divorced and remarried Catholics to receive the Eucharist.

According to publisher Ignatius Press, the book will outline both biblical arguments in support of current Church doctrine as well as the teachings and practices of the early Church.

In their online summary, Ignatius Press explains that the book “traces the centuries-long history of Catholic resistance” to the reception of communion by divorced and re-married Catholics, and reveals “serious theological and canonical difficulties inherent in past and current Orthodox Church practice.”

“In neither of these cases, biblical or patristic, do these scholars find support for the kind of ‘toleration’ of civil marriages following divorce advocated by Cardinal Kasper,” they observed.

During a two-hour address to a consistory on the family in February, Cardinal Kasper, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, discussed marriage and family life, devoting the last section of his speech to “the problem of the divorced and remarried.”

In that portion he asked, “is it not perhaps an exploitation of the person” when a person who has been divorced and remarried is excluded from receiving Communion, and suggests that for “the smaller segment of the divorced and remarried,” perhaps they could be admitted to “the sacrament of penance, and then of Communion.”

He echoed the same sentiments in a May interview with Commonweal, during which he discussed his proposal that divorced and remarried persons might receive Communion, suggesting that Christians aren’t called to be heroic when he said that living together as brother and sister is “a heroic act, and heroism is not for the average Christian.”

Referring to the conclusion drawn by the cardinals, Ignatius Press explained that the various studies examined in the book “lead to the conclusion that the Church’s longstanding fidelity to the truth of marriage constitutes the irrevocable foundation of its merciful and loving response to the individual who is civilly divorced and remarried.”

“The book therefore challenges the premise that traditional Catholic doctrine and contemporary pastoral practice are in contradiction.”

The five cardinals authoring the book are Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Doctrine of the Faith; Raymond Leo Burke, prefect of the Apostolic Signatura; Walter Brandmüller, president emeritus of the Pontifical Committee of Historical Sciences; Carlo Caffarra, archbishop of Bologna and one of the closest theologians to St. John Paul II in questions of morality and the family; and Velasio De Paolis, president emeritus of the Prefecture for Economic Affairs of the Holy See.

In addition to the cardinals, four expert theologians and professors have also made contributions to the book. They are Robert Dodaro, O.S.A., the editor, John Rist and Jesuits Paul Mankowski and Archbishop Cyril Vasil.



    if anyone is interested, ask your pastor about Reconciliation on the Internal Forum.

  2. Belinda Camel Reply

    It was not my choice to get a divorce. I don't understand why I have to be punished for remarrying. I feel I deserve to be happy. My present husband has reservations about annulments because he thinks that he would be saying his children from his first marriage were a mistake.

    1. Felicity Reply

      Belinda, I too am not responsible for my divorce. My husban lived an adulterous double life for a good 18 years or more of our 28 year marriage. I knew nothing of this. I have 2daughters from this marriage. As parents and as adults, we have to be responsible enough to know if what we are doing is in accordance with God's word. If it is, do not force the church to rectify what we do. You and I and many more Catholics who are not responsible for divorcing should allow God to pass judgement on the guilty ones. We just have to be patient which is a virtue.

      1. Jen Reply

        Likewise, my divorce is not entirely my own fault, he was psychologically abusive and unfaithful abandoning our children and myself to go live with his mistress. It almost feels as though the church is saying you have two choices sacrifice your safety and sanity or sacrifice being fully included with God. I pray the church can find a way to take care of unique situations, the current cookie cutter approach seems rather unforgiving.

    2. tina Reply

      I agree with Belinda.

  3. lgweonu Benjamin Reply

    The church is our only hope in this world as an ideal mother you have to be kind, careful and wise enough to lead us to heaven.

  4. Marly Reply

    I am divorced and I do not ask to god be remarriged because he give me my partner for life all ready and i just ask to him don't leve me alone after my divorce is too hard ,but now i am happy to get back to God ……am not planning to get remarried bcz . Ir hurts to my God more than one divorce .


  5. Donna Reply

    I too never intended to be divorced but clearly God had other plans for me.

    My experience as a practicing Catholic the better part of my 52 years is most people don't know their catechism so are unable to understand and accept Doctrine.

    I pray this book will clarify the teachings of the church as I have come to understand and accept them.

    Peace be with you and with your spirit.

  6. Michael Katal Reply

    We were separated after she left for her home province with our four beautiful daughters. We were married for 8 years. After 22 years I still cannot understand why she had left. The option for an annulment was there but I'd rather live a single life & continue to receive the Sacraments… My heart is with you brothers & sisters who are struggling. May God bless you all..

  7. Lee Connolly Reply

    Oh what a relief. When a divorce happens very often the church loses 2 catholics and the children. This is a review that has been too long in coming. I am sure The Holy Spirit will work with Our awesome and Holy Pope Francis and his review panel . GOD bless and guide you all in this undertaking. It will give our church a human face with human feelings all in the sight of the world and before God.

  8. Lee Connolly Reply

    Our beautiful church will never allow a “divorce on demand” situation each case will try to be first let us try and reconcile then if all else fails….the decision will be on the conscience of the parties involved and the children be given support and encouragement within our church structures and also the parents receive spiritual direction this is such a holistic approach and every “wins” God Bless us all as our church grows and evolves in difficult times and meets the problems head on.

  9. Lee Connolly Reply

    So proud of our Catholic faith and our leaders whose awesome responsibility it is to guide us in turbulent times. So happy to be a catechism teacher too

  10. Agnes Reply

    Why is the catholic church refusing to grant people divorce and the Bible tell us if you find the man or woman in unfaithfulness they should divorce so why is the church refusing to grant one divorce in case like this

  11. iosefo bibi Reply

    Igweonu Benjamin.. I agree with you my brother

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