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The television version of Hilary Mantel’s novel Wolf Hall is the latest account to challenge St Thomas More’s reputation as a courageous defender of the rights of conscience. Was he, in truth, a liberal icon, a religious fanatic or something in between?
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The leading member of the Council of Cardinals (C8) has sharply criticised the Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal-designate Gerhard Müller.
In several recent statements Cardinal-designate Müller has ruled out any revision of church rules barring divorced and civilly remarried Catholics from the sacraments.
Asked about this in an interview with the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, a Honduran, said: “He’s a German, one has to say, and above all he’s a German theology professor, so in his mentality there’s only truth and falsehood. But I say, my brother, the world isn’t like this, and you should be a little flexible when you hear other voices. That means not just listening and then saying no.”
Maradiaga, who was on a visit to Germany, said he was sure Archbishop Müller “will arrive at understanding other positions too”, even if at the moment “he listens only to his group of advisers”.
On the question of divorced and remarried believers, Rodriguez Maradiaga seemed to signal support for some sort of change.
“The Church is obliged [to uphold] the commandments of God,” he said, including what Jesus said about marriage: “What God has united, let no man separate.”
That said, Rodriguez Maradiaga reportedly added, “There are different approaches to making this clear. After the failure of a marriage, for example, we can ask if the spouses were truly united in God. There’s much room for further reflection there.”