Changing the discipline on the sacraments, “admitting a contradiction between the Eucharist and marriage, would necessarily mean changing the profession of faith of the Church, which teaches and realizes the harmony among all the sacraments, just as she has received it from Jesus.”
“On this faith in indissoluble marriage, not as distant ideal but as concrete reality, the blood of martyrs has been shed,” he said.
Cardinal Müller recalled that “it is true that the relationship between the spouses must grow and mature; that it will have its stumbles and will need forgiveness; from this point of view it will always be imperfect and in progress. But on the other hand, as a sacrament, marriage gives the spouses the full presence of the love of Jesus between them, the bond of an indissoluble love, until death, like that of Christ and his Church.”
Invoking the imagery of Noah’s Ark and the flood, Cardinal Müller said Pope Francis is “sensitive to the flood situation of the contemporary world.”
He said the Pope has “opened all possible windows of the boat and has invited all of us to throw ropes from the windows in order to pull the castaway onto the barque.”
To give Holy Communion to those who visibly live contrary to the sacrament of marriage would not be opening another window, he said. Rather, it would open “a leak in the bottom of the boat, allowing the sea to enter in and endangering the navigation of all and the service of the Church to society.”
“Rather than a way of integration, it would be a way of the disintegration of the ecclesial ark, a way of water,” the cardinal said. Preserving this ark preserves “our common home that is the Church.”
“The consistency between the sacraments and the Christian way of life guarantees … that the sacramental culture in which the Church lives and which she proposes to the world remains habitable,” he said. “It is only in this way that she can receive sinners, welcoming them with care and inviting them on a concrete journey that they may overcome sin.”
He said divorced-and-remarried persons should “decline to establish themselves in their situation” and should be “ready to illuminate it in the light of the words of Jesus.” Others should not “make peace with the new union.”
“Everything that may lead to abandoning this way of life is a small step of growth that must be promoted and enlivened.”
Those in a new union who abstain from receiving Holy Communion and work to conform to the Eucharist are also “protecting the dwelling of the Church, our common home”, he said.
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
In discussing Amoris laetitia's presentation of discernment for those who are in irregular unions, Cardinal Müller pointed out that the goal of this discernment is “the goal that the Church proclaims for all … It consists in returning to the fidelity of the marriage bond, thus entering anew into that dwelling or ark which the mercy of God has offered to the love and desire of man.”
“Discernment is necessary, therefore, not for selecting the goal, but for selecting the path. Having clearly in mind where we want to take the person (the full life that God has promised us), one can discern the ways by which each one, in his particular case, may arrive there.”
The process of discernment is directed, he said, “with patience and mercy, to revivifying and healing the wound from which these brothers suffer, which is not the failure of the previous marriage, but rather the new union established.”
As for the “integration” of those who are divorced-and-remarried, Cardinal Müller said it is “essential that the word of God be proclaimed in the process … thus these baptized persons will shed light, little by little, on this second union that they have begun and in which they live.”
This could include the possibility of reviewing the nullity of their sacramental marriage, he said, and a possible “assumption of certain public ecclesial offices.” He emphasized that the criterion is “the person’s journey of concrete growth toward healing.”
For Cardinal Müller, the key to interpreting Amoris laetitia is its exegesis of the “hymn to love” in 1 Corinthians 13: “According to it, only in the light of true and genuine love (AL 67) is it possible 'to learn to love' (AL 208) and build a dwelling for desire.”