- Spread of the French malaise
The ever-increasing clash between the sacred and the secular is slowly pulling European society apart, one of the continent’s leading thinkers tells Tom Heneghan
- Home News
- World News
- Parish Practice
- Letters Extra
- The living Spirit
- Cardinal Kasper describes how 'penitential pathway' for remarried divorcees would work
- Episcopal Vicar accused over handling of 10 redundancies in Brentwood
- ‘Up to half’ the bishops in England and Wales want married priests, says Hollis
- Cardinal Pell’s 40-year-old passport ‘disproves allegation that he knew about child's abuse by priest’
- What happens when you euthanase the mentally ill Sheila Hollins
- The argument between Greece and Germany is about far more than money Revd Dr Giles Fraser
- Pope Benedict’s Good Friday prayer caused huge offence and should go Sr Margaret Shepherd
On being elected the new president of the German bishops’ conference, Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich made his strongest statement to date on the need to allow remarried divorcees to receive communion.
At the forthcoming Synod on the family in October the German bishops plan to campaign for a more merciful approach to remarried divorcees at the level of the world Church, Cardinal Marx told the press after the election.
The bishops will present a paper on marriage as “an alliance and a Sacrament” which also goes into the need for mercy and forgiveness. They will propose a “pastoral way of reconciliation” for remarried divorcees. The final version of this paper will be drawn up when the permanent council of the bishops’ conference meets in April.
Already in his sermon at Mass before his election, Marx had spoken of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium and underlined the “explosive force” of mercy. Quoting Blessed Pope John XXIII, he had expressly warned against “prophets of doom”.
The faithful “rightfully” expected the Church to accompany those whose marriages had broken down, Cardinal Marx said. “It must be clear that as a Church we say: ‘You are not second-class Christians. There is a chance of a new beginning and we would like to accompany you on this path.’ We must give this approach more positive support and step up our efforts here,” he emphasized.
But at the same time he warned against expecting quick solutions. “The difficulties are being underestimated,” he said recalling that this whole question concerned the indissolubility of marriage, which was a central theological issue.
In a later interview in Die Welt am Sonntag on 16 March, Marx said he agreed with the solution Cardinal Walter Kasper had suggested in his address to the cardinals at the Consistory in Rome last month, that remarried divorcees who recognised their failures should be allowed to apply to be readmitted to the Sacraments after a period of atonement.
But he warned that the issue could only be solved at the world church level. In a globalised world, a strong centre in Rome was essential for the Catholic Church, he said.
However the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Prefect, Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, told the Allgemeine Zeitung in Mainz that the problem concerning remarried divorcees could not be solved by “diminishing God’s word” and replacing it with man-made rules.