Thursday, December 08, 2016

Doctrinal chief stays out of Amoris letter debate

Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), has said that his role is not to participate in the controversy over the four Cardinals’ letter to the Pope. 

He has also indicated that he does not believe Church doctrine can change on Communion for the remarried.

In an interview with the German website Kathpress, Cardinal Müller said that the CDF’s role was to speak with the authority of the Pope, not to “participate in the controversy of opinion.”

He was answering a question about the dubia – that is, requests for clarification submitted to the Pope by four Cardinals.

They ask whether certain teachings of the Church, repeated in the past 35 years by Pope St John Paul II, are still valid. Pope Francis has not replied to the dubia since they were submitted in September.

It is common for the Pope to ask the CDF to answer such a request. Cardinal Müller said the Pope could do so in this case.

In the interview, Cardinal Müller said that the CDF’s 1994 letter to bishops was still Church teaching, and that Pope Francis’ recent document, Amoris Laetitia, had not altered anything in this regard.

The 1994 letter repeated the teaching of St John Paul’s 1981 exhortation Familiaris Consortio, which says that the remarried can only receive absolution, and therefore Communion, if they resolve to live “as brother and sister.”

Cardinal Müller also downplayed the controversy over the dubia, saying that it was wrong to think of a power struggle. Emphasis should be on “the victory of truth and not the triumph of power,” the Cardinal said.

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