John Paul II explains human sexuality as a "real symbol for the giving of the whole person," and namely, "without every temporal or other limitation." He thus formulates very clearly in article 84 that remarried divorcés must refrain from sex if they want to go to communion. A change in the practice of the administration of the sacraments would therefore be no "further development of Familiaris consortio," as Cardinal Kasper said, but rather a breach in her essential anthropological and theological teaching on marriage and human sexuality. The Church has no authority, without prior conversion, to approve disordered sexual relationships through the administration of the sacraments, thereby anticipating God's mercy - regardless of how these situations are to be judged on a human and moral level. The door here – as with the ordination of women to the priesthood – is closed.
Couldn't someone object that the anthropological and theological reflections you mentioned are indeed correct – that God's mercy is not, however, bound to such limits, but it is linked to the concrete situation of the individual person?
God's mercy concerns the heart of the Christian faith in the Incarnation and Redemption. Of course, God has each individual person in his or her own situation in view. He knows each person better than they know themselves. The Christian life, however, is not a pedagogical event in which marriage is aimed for as an ideal, as Amoris laetitia appears to suggest in many places. The whole realm of relationships, especially sexual relationships, concerns the dignity of the human person, his or her personhood and freedom. It has to do with the body as a "Temple of God" (1 Cor 6:19). Every violation to this realm, even if it were to occur often, is, therefore, also a violation of one's relationship to God - to which Christians know they are called – a sin against God's holiness, and always in need purification and conversion.
God's mercy consists in always allowing this conversion anew. Of course, it is not bound to definite limits, but the Church on her part requires a proclamation of conversion and does not have the authority to overstep established boundaries by administering the sacraments, and to abuse God's mercy. That would be imprudent. Therefore clergy, who comply with the existing order, judge no-one; rather, they take into consideration and announce these boundaries of God's holiness – a salvific promulgation. I don't want to comment any further to insinuate that they would "hide behind the Church's teachings" and "sit on the chair of Moses" so as to throw "stones … at people's lives" (AL, 305). It may be noted that the respective verses in the Gospel are alluded to mistakenly. Jesus indeed says that the Pharisees and scribes sit on the chair of Moses, but he expressly emphasizes that the disciples should adhere to what they say. They should not, however, live like them (Matt 23:2).
Pope Francis has stressed that we should not focus on only single sentences of his teachings; rather the whole should be kept in mind.
Concentrating on the stated passages is fully justified in my eyes. It cannot be expected in a papal exhortation that people will rejoice in a pleasant text and ignore decisive sentences, which change the teachings of the Church. There is actually only a clear yes or no decision: to give Communion or not. There is no intermediary between them.
The Holy Father emphasizes in his exhortation that nobody may be allowed to be condemned forever.
I find it difficult to understand, what he means there. That the Church is not allowed to condemn anyone personally – of course not forever, what she cannot do, thank God – is clear. When it concerns sexual relationships which objectively contradict the Christian way of life, I would like to know from the Pope, after what time and under which circumstances is objectively sinful conduct changed into conduct pleasing to God.
Is it, in your perspective, actually an issue of a breach with the teaching tradition of the Church?
That it is an issue of a breach emerges doubtlessly for every thinking person, who knows the respective texts.