Responding to a False Claim on the CDF

In today’s issue of the Sunday Times Fr Joe Inguanez wrote an article asking whether the Veri Catholici article (against the Eucharistic Communion to divorced and remarried) which appeared previously on the Times, was in fact aimed at Archbishop Scicluna/ Bishop Grech or at Pope Francis. The response to such a question I will give on next Thursday’s, Friday’s, Saturday’s and Sunday’s articles where I will be showing how previous Church documents disapprove of Amoris Laetitia’s paragraphs 302 all the way to 305. In this article I would like to show that what Fr Joe said at one point in time in his article is utterly false.

Fr Joe Inguanez writes: For diverse reasons, these guidelines took many (both clergy and laity) by surprise: some were elated that our bishops had taken a step which by several standards may be considered both pastoral and courageous; others felt that our bishops had betrayed the Church’s official teaching. A proof that the latter position is untenable is that if it were so, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) would have publicly come down on them like a ton of bricks.”

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My response: Yes our bishops have betrayed Church teaching and here is why:

In 1994 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith wrote a letter on divorced and remarried. Here is a piece which addressed the situation at hand, namely whether Communion can be given based on different situations.

(1)At the same time it confirms and indicates the reasons for the constant and universal practice, “founded on Sacred Scripture, of not admitting the divorced and remarried to Holy Communion”(9). The structure of the Exhortation and the tenor of its words give clearly to understand that this practice, which is presented as binding, cannot be modified because of different situations.

The Exhortation mentioned above is Familiaris Consortio which was written in 1981 by St John Paul II, here is the quote on the above mentioned matter:

(2)However, the Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist.

Secondly the Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has responded, in an interview to Il Timone (on Eucharistic Communion for divorced and remarried):

“For us marriage is the expression of participation in the unity between Christ the bridegroom and the Church his bride. This is not, as some said during the Synod, a simple vague analogy. No! This is the substance of the sacrament, and no power in heaven or on earth, neither an angel, nor the pope, nor a council, nor a law of the bishops, has the faculty to change it.”

In addition to this he also said (with indirect reference to the Maltese Bishops and others who followed suit):

“Amoris Laetitia” must clearly be interpreted in the light of the whole doctrine of the Church. […] I don’t like it, it is not right that so many bishops are interpreting “Amoris Laetitia” according to their way of understanding the pope’s teaching. This does not keep to the line of Catholic doctrine. The magisterium of the pope is interpreted only by him or through the congregation for the doctrine of the faith. The pope interprets the bishops, it is not the bishops who interpret the pope, this would constitute an inversion of the structure of the Catholic Church. To all these who are talking too much, I urge them to study first the doctrine [of the councils] on the papacy and the episcopate.

References:

  1. CDF 1994 letter concerning the reception of Holy Communion by divorced and remarried members of the Faithful, n 5: “However, the Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist.”
  2. Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, n. 84
  3. Catholic Herald “Cardinal Müller: Communion for the remarried is against God’s law” http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2017/02/01/cardinal-muller-communion-for-the-remarried-is-against-gods-law/
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