Archbishop Mueller Says Water Is Wet: Anger Ensues.
From the pleasantly surprising mini-essay of Archbishop Mueller (I know, I know…) concerning marriage, some rather interesting excerpts. Emphases mine.
Marriage can be understood and lived as a sacrament only in the context of the mystery of Christ. If marriage is secularized or regarded as a purely natural reality, its sacramental character is obscured. Sacramental marriage belongs to the order of grace, it is taken up into the definitive communion of love between Christ and his Church. Christians are called to live their marriage within the eschatological horizon of the coming of God’s kingdom in Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word of God.
Pastors are obliged, by love for the truth, “to exercise careful discernment of situations” […] And yet they cannot be admitted to the Eucharist. Two reasons are given for this: a) “their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist” b) “if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage”.
Clergy are expressly forbidden, for intrinsically sacramental and theological reasons and not through legalistic pressures, to “perform ceremonies of any kind” for divorced people who remarry civilly, as long as the first sacramentally valid marriage still exists.
the faithful concerned may not present themselves for holy communion on the basis of their own conscience: “Should they judge it possible to do so, pastors and confessors … have the serious duty to admonish them that such a judgment of conscience openly contradicts the Church’s teaching”
The doctrine of the indissolubility of marriage is often met with incomprehension in a secularized environment.
Love is more than a feeling or an instinct. Of its nature it is self-giving. In marital love, two people say consciously and intentionally to one another: only you – and you for ever.
If remarried divorcees are subjectively convinced in their conscience that a previous marriage was invalid, this must be proven objectively by the competent marriage tribunals. Marriage is not simply about the relationship of two people to God, it is also a reality of the Church, a sacrament, and it is not for the individuals concerned to decide on its validity, but rather for the Church, into which the individuals are incorporated by faith and baptism.
in the case of the indissolubility of sacramental marriage we are dealing with a divine norm that is not at the disposal of the Church.
A further case for the admission of remarried divorcees to the sacraments is argued in terms of mercy. Given that Jesus himself showed solidarity with the suffering and poured out his merciful love upon them, mercy is said to be a distinctive quality of true discipleship. This is correct, but it misses the mark when adopted as an argument in the field of sacramental theology. The entire sacramental economy is a work of divine mercy and it cannot simply be swept aside by an appeal to the same. An objectively false appeal to mercy also runs the risk of trivializing the image of God, by implying that God cannot do other than forgive. The mystery of God includes not only his mercy but also his holiness and his justice. If one were to suppress these characteristics of God and refuse to take sin seriously, ultimately it would not even be possible to bring God’s mercy to man. Jesus encountered the adulteress with great compassion, but he said to her “Go and do not sin again” (Jn 8:11). God’s mercy does not dispense us from following his commandments or the rules of the Church. Rather it supplies us with the grace and strength needed to fulfil them, to pick ourselves up after a fall, and to live life in its fullness according to the image of our heavenly Father.
I won’t lie to you and say every thing is as good as that. But most of the article is as good as that. Please let us leave aside for the moment the problems of the text and let us focus on what is means in this particular moment, when the Bishop of Rome blabbers about “mercy” and “pastoral care” clearly engendering the impression some big trouble might be in the making. I see the following possibilities:
1. Francis got scared of the messianic expectations of the liberal crowds, particularly after the Freiburg initiative has shown him what kind of problems are in the making when one opens his mouth without thinking (which is, I would say, every time he is not eating). Therefore, he has a rare moment of reasonableness and sends forth his lieutenant Mueller to calm down the nutcases, and explain he wants to be the Nelson Mandela of Catholicism, but not at the price of formal heresy. This makes sense, because it makes of Mueller, not Francis, the “baddy”. Francis remains, therefore, the good chap who would allow adulterers to receive communion. But the cruel men around him they will not, will not, will not allow him to. Everyone’s happy.
2. Francis wants to “make a mess”. His lieutenants, who have grasped the extent of the man’s subversive madness, start blocking him in purest Vatican style. They are saying “you can be as much as a nutcase as you please, but we won’t follow you where you give such a scandal”. Notice that Mueller’s opposition is presented in term that have to do with the nature it self of the Church and the sacraments, not pastoral care. The Church can’t allow adulterers to receive communion, full stop. He isn’t saying “I think this would be wrong”. He is saying “this can never, ever be right”.
I would, at this point, be happy to congratulate Archbishop Mueller for his defense of the most elementary Catholic truths. Forgive me if I don’t, as I think the time where a future cardinal, archbishop and head of the CDF is praised simply for stating the obvious should be completely forgotten. Archbishop Mueller surprises with his show of (V II; read the article well) orthodoxy. But he should certainly not be praised for saying it.
I am curious to see what will become of this. I would bet my half pint other prelates will intervene in the matter, repeating the points made by the Archbishop. If this happens I will, personally, read this as a preventative straitjacket put around Francis to prevent him from doing immense harm to himself and to the Church. It is good that the reiterations of simple Catholic truths start now, rather than waiting for October 2014.
You never know what a bunch of hippy cardinals, led by a hippie pope, could do instead.
Allow me, for the moment, to draw a brutally frank conclusion: there is reason to hope that either this pontiff has now reached the limit of his own incompetence, or his own men will take care he does not go beyond a certain – and extremely scandalous in any way – limit of incompetence; which they can do simply by publicly recalling the Truths of the faith in such definitive terms as to castrate from the start every attempt to impose a Che-Church (shall I patent this?) on the poor faithful.
Archbishop Mueller did his job today. In a very V II way, I admit, but he did it.
This makes news. Mala tempora currunt.
Posted on October 24, 2013, in Catholicism, Conservative Catholicism, Traditional Catholicism and tagged Archbishop Mueller, communion for adulterers, Extraordinary Synod 2014 synod. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.