Chairman of the Commission of Cardinals tells CDF Prefect that he’s out of touch with the real world because truth isn’t black and white

Cardinal Rodriguez  Maradiaga, hand picked by Pope Francis to chair his inner group of eight cardinals, has given an interview to the German newspaper Koelner Stadt-Anzeiger in which he patronizingly tells Cardinal-designate Gerhard Müller, the Prefect of the CDF, that he’s out of touch with the real world because truth isn’t black and white.

Reuters reports:

‘Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, the head of a “kitchen cabinet” the pope created to draw up reform proposals, said that Archbishop Gerhard Mueller (sic) – who has opposed any loosening of Church rules on divorce – was a classic German theology professor who thought too much in rigid black-and-white terms.

“The world isn’t like that, my brother,” Rodriguez said in a German newspaper interview, rhetorically addressing Mueller (sic) in a rare public criticism among senior Church figures. ”You should be a bit flexible when you hear other voices, so you don’t just listen and say, ‘here is the wall’,” Rodriguez said in an interview with the daily Koelner Stadt-Anzeiger.

Catholic Culture reports:

‘In perhaps the most surprising part of the interview, Cardinal Rodriguez voiced a public disagreement with another leading prelate when he made clear his disagreement with Archbishop Gerhard Müller, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, regarding proposals to allow divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion. Last October, in a strongly worded article published in the official Vatican newspaperL’Osservatore Romano, Archbishop Müller cautioned German bishops against assuming a change in the Church’s policy, emphasizing the constant teaching that a marital bond is permanent an inviolable.

Cardinal Rodriquez did not disagree with the Church’s teaching. “The Church is bound by God’s commandments,” he told the German newspaper. “What God has joined together, man must not divide. That is clear.” However, he said, “there are many approaches to interpret it.” Some couples may not truly be married in the eyes of God, he said, and the Church might reconsider the requirements of a binding Christian commitment. He suggested that Archbishop Müller should be open to discussion of the problem, because “maybe you’re right, but maybe you’re wrong.” Oddly enough, Cardinal Rodriguez admitted that he had not spoken directly with Archbishop Müller, the Vatican’s chief doctrinal spokesman, about the question.’

Protect the Pope comment: Before making his outrageous public attack on the integrity of Cardinal-designate Müller Cardinal Rodriquez would have been wise to read the Prefect of the CDF’s defence of the Church’s doctrine on the indissolubility of marriage and pastoral care for the divorced and re-married which he clearly hasn’t done. Cardinal Rodriquez said in his interview that ‘ Some couples may not truly be married in the eyes of God, he said, and the Church might reconsider the requirements of a binding Christian commitment.’ This is exactly the same point made by Archbishop Müller in his L’Osservatore Romano in October 2013 when he wrote:

‘If there are doubts concerning the validity of the failed marriage, these are to be carefully examined by the competent marriage tribunals. Today’s mentality is largely opposed to the Christian understanding of marriage, with regard to its indissolubility and its openness to children. Because many Christians are influenced by this, marriages nowadays are probably invalid more often than they were previously, because there is a lack of desire for marriage in accordance with Catholic teaching, and there is too little socialization within an environment of faith. Therefore assessment of the validity of marriage is important and can help to solve problems.’

However, Archbishop Müller also insists that its not up to the married couple to decide  for themselves whether or not their marriage is null. He writes:

“Marriage is not simply about the relationship of two people to God, it is also a reality of the Church, a sacrament, and it is not the individuals concerned to decide on its validity, but rather for the Church, into which individuals are incorporated by faith and baptism.’

Cardinal Rodriquez should publicly retract his uninformed caricature of Cardinal-designate  Müller’s position on the pastoral care of the divorced and re-married. This personal attack on the Prefect of the CDF by one of Pope Francis’ inner-circle doesn’t bode well for the Extraordinary Synod in October, and adds to concerns that factions within the episcopacy, led by some of the German bishops,  plan to change the Church’s doctrine on the indissolubility of marriage.



31 comments to Chairman of the Commission of Cardinals tells CDF Prefect that he’s out of touch with the real world because truth isn’t black and white

  • Joseph Matthew

    It is easy to think that the greatest battle at present is in the Middle East or Africa. What if the greatest battle is taking place within the Church: Cardinal against Cardinal, Our Lady against the devil? However, the Cardinals mentioned have both seemed confused at times.

    • Lynda

      This is true. The most dangerous enemies of the saving Truth, the Deposit of Faith are the apostates within the visible Church constantly abusing their power to destroy the Church, destroy people’s faith and morals and cause the loss of as many souls as possible. It is beyond scandalous how so many prelates do not hold to or teach the one true Faith. We can clearly see how St Catherine of Siena’s statement about the numbers of them in Hell is true. Blessed Michael, the Archangel, defend us in the hour of conflict …

  • Peter

    I’ve met Oscar on a number of occasions and if it is true what has been reported I am not surprised by his words. The cardinal is very grounded in peoples experience and pastorally orientated. I’m not sure if he should be giving interviews like these so close to the Synod – the Synod is too importNt to be lost in a war of interviews, words and PR.

  • Benedict Carter

    How long will the odious “conservative” Catholic continue to make excuses for, and follow, these heterodox Cardinals, Bishops and priests? Until your soul is teetering on the very edge of the fiery abyss? It does exist you know.

  • Andrzej

    Deacon Nick, is OK to start tearing out my hair, or it not just that moment yet?

  • Peter 2

    Francis’ recommendation last June to Latin American religious to basically ignore the CDF combined with the lack of clarity of his “off-the-cuff” remarks have so effectively neutered Müller that Cardinals like Maradiaga, Marx, and Kasper obviously feel emboldened to openly criticize the prefect knowing that absolutely nothing will happen.  Besides pronouncing the SSPX schismatics and the founder of liberation theology orthodox, one wonders what point Müller really serves these days…

  • jacobi

    The divorce issue has nothing to do with Church policy. It is a matter of doctrine and that cannot be changed.

    Marriage is indissoluble. Only the Church can decide if a marriage is invalid. Parties from an annulled marriage can re-marry, but only those free of impediment.

    Without annulment, Catholics who re-marry are living in a state of Mortal Sin and may not receive Holy Communion without incurring further Mortal Sin, and possibly Sacrilege.

    They may, and indeed should, go to Mass and perhaps make an act of Spiritual Communion if they choose, but they cannot receive Holy Communion.

    If any cleric advises otherwise, then he is guilty of complicity in the Mortal Sin of another, whether he is priest or Cardinal.

    There are nine ways in which the Church recognises complicity in the sins of another. Of these, counsel, consent, silence, and of course, defending the ill done, come to mind.

    • Lynda

      They have made their own secularist, relativist “religion” which denies objective truth.

    • Mark Stein

      Excluding re-married catholics from communion is most certainly not an article of church doctrine, it is a matter of church discipline which is why it’s up for discussion at the synod. The eastern rite catholics and Orthodox do it so it’s not heretical. Civil divorce, by the way, is a required pre-requisite for an annulment and there is nothing wrong about it by itself. It’s re-marriage that is contrary to church teaching.

      • Deacon Nick Donnelly

        Of course excluding the divorced and re-married is about doctrine, its about the indissolubility of marriage and the evil of adultery. Deacon Nick

      • Lynda

        Are you serious?? It couldn’t be more central to the Faith in several ways. There’s the sacred indissoluble marriage bond and purporting to break same, there’s adultery, there’s unconfessed mortal sin and not being in the state of grace to be able to receive Our Lord, there’s obstinately remaining in manifest grave sin and scandal and the duty of priest to protect the sacrament from sacrilege, and people from scandal.

      • Augustine

        You are VERY much mistaken. It is most certainly a matter of Doctrine – not Discipline.

        Remember that the Catholic Church’s teaching on divorce and remarriage comes directly from the gospels.

        Jesus states that if a man divorces his wife and marries another woman, he commits adultery; and when a man marries a divorced woman, he commits adultery; and when a woman divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.

        (See Matthew 5:32, Matthew 19:9, Mark 10:11-12, Luke 16:18)

        Now the Catholic Church has no authority to deviate from the teachings of Christ.

        Adultery is forbidden in the Ten Commandments: breaking one of the Ten Commandments is a mortal sin.

        Furthermore, the Council of Trent solemnly defined this as Church Doctrine in its 24th session: Doctrine (yes that pesky word DOCTRINE again!) on the Sacrament of Matrimony in 1563.

        Canon 7 states “If anyone says that the Church is in error for having taught and for still teaching that…the marriage bond cannot be dissolved…and that neither of the two, not even the innocent one who has given no cause for infidelity, can contract another marriage during the lifetime of the other…Anathema sit.” (see Neuner & Dupuis p. 777 or Tanner p. 754)

        Finally, the Council of Trent taught in its 13th Session on the Most Holy Eucharist in 1551 that if you have committed a mortal sin, you must go to confession before you can receive Holy Communion again.

        Canon 11 states: “Those whose conscience is burdened with mortal sin, no matter how contrite they may think they are, first must necessarily make a sacramental confession…If anyone presumes to teach, or preach, or obstinately maintain, or defend in public disputation the opposite of this, he shall by the very fact be excommunicated.” (See Neuner & Dupuis 623 or Tanner p. 698)

        • Augustine

          Remember folks:

          “If anyone presumes to teach, or preach, or obstinately maintain, or defend in public disputation the opposite of this, he shall by the very fact be excommunicated.”

          I wonder if the German Bishops have read this!

          Perhaps someone could translate it into German for them ;-)

  • Katalina

    I have hear though this Cardinal is the head of the Gang of eight he is not the Pope’s closes advisors instead I hear it is George Pell and Sean O’Malley. Tim Dolan was for a while the one he was associating with but no instead it is Sean O’Malley NOT the Honduran Cardinal or Dolan.

  • Maradiaga speaks exactly like the relativists which Benedict XVI so roundly condemned. Looks like he is joining the German schism from the Church in time for the 500th anniversary of the “Reformation.”

    • ErnstThalmann

      Maradiaga is a stalking horse. He’s absolutely Pope Francis’ man. Muller has been targeted and must go to set the stage for Pope Francis to avert his gaze as the German Bishop’s Conference turns sacramental marriage into a travesty. [moderated comment]

      • Augustine

        That is pure speculation on your part. I do not think that it is true – and this is why:

        1. Archbishop Muller is a close collaborator and a personal friend of Pope Benedict.

        2. Pope Benedict chose him to be prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).

        3. But Pope Francis chose to reinstate him as the prefect of the CDF.

        4. And now Pope Francis has chosen to make him a Cardinal – hardly a sign that he is not in favour with Pope Francis.

  • Mark Stein, you are incorrect. To every sacrament there is a discipline, as you state, but a spiritual reality. One of those spiritual realities is that a person in an irregular marriage is in the state of mortal sin, and, therefore, receives no grace by receiving Holy Communion. This is not a rule, but a reality of sin and death. Also, the sin of sacrilege is committed by the person who is in mortal sin and receives Holy Communion, as that person is violating something which is sacred, that is the Body of Christ. This sin of sacrilege compounds the state of mortal sin, as sacrilege is a grievous sin. It has been a long-established understanding that this particular sin of sacrilege, taking Communion unworthily in mortal sin, is one of the most serious types of sacrilege.

    In addition, this receiving is a transgression of the virtue of religion, which means that the person is not worshiping God correctly, another deep sin. This is why we guard the Eucharist at Mass and at Adoration to prevent sacrilege and the sin against religion.

  • the word “also” should proceed “a spiritual reality”….

  • May I add that the sacrament of marriage is not merely a contract or an agreement between two people as witnessed by the Church, but, like all sacraments, ontologically changes a person. The person’s soul and body are changed forever. This is because the sacraments are all “efficacious” and are not merely signs but actually “do” what the signs indicate.

  • William

    All sacraments do not ontologically change (leave a mark) on the soul. The Church does not and has never taught that the sacrament of marriage ontologically “changes a person”. And the phrase “changes a person” is incorrect when using the word ontological in regards to a sacrament. The only sacraments that leave a MARK on the SOUL and ontologically change it are Baptism and Confirmation and Holy Orders. That is why these sacraments can only be validly received once. A valid marriage can be contracted more than once in a persons life time. Terminology is important. Especially with the pope we presently have.

  • William, I did not refer to the mark on the soul, which I agree with, but you are wrong about marriage not changing on ontologically. Marriage, although only for here and not eternally, changes two people into one. That is an ontological change until death of one of those two. Marriage is for life, and that is not merely contractual but a spiritual reality. I am picking about my terms and use all terms exactly, read my blog. Also, ontology was one subject I did take for theology and philosophy degrees. Therefore, I know what I am referring to-the problem is that people do not believe in the huge change as they approach marriage merely as two individuals. That I was married, changed me spiritually and changed my being.

    A child is a sign of this ontological change-the offspring of the two becoming one not merely physically, but spiritually and therefore taking part with God, in creation.

    My point for this discussion was that marriage does indeed impact the soul in a deep and spiritual manner which is rarely taught, even in marriage prep.

  • William, by the way, I had an interesting discussion on this point in the past with a married priest who agreed with me and who also teaches that the sacrament of marriage changes our being, our soul. He also was taught thus in seminary, a better one than most Catholic ones, ironically, as it was a conservative Anglican seminary. If you read my entry you will see nothing about the indelible mark of the priest or of baptism, to which I did not refer.

    • William

      I don’t care what an Anglican “priest” says or teaches about anything. I only care what Holy Mother teaches infallibly and she does not teach that marriage ontologically changes the soul. That is something Father conservative Anglican, who is a lay person by the way, made up. It’s not Catholic teaching. It’s feel good nonsense. Show me where the CCC teaches this. Show me were St. Thomas Aquanis or St. Augustine teach that marriage ontologically changes the soul. Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Orders actually leave a mark which changes what the soul is, it’s esse. For a person to be ontologically change their must be a change in their ‘to be’ their very essence. Marriage does none of these things. Your numerous, numerous comments show your incredible lack of real understanding of catholic Dogma and Doctrine. That’s not an insult it’s the truth. Go and study the CCC and Aquanis. I am trying to help you. To instruct the ignorant is a Spiritual Act of Mercy.

  • Marcellus

    This is the same cardinal (Maradiaga) who said that the Church following Vatican II has made peace with Modernism, which St. Pius XII called the synthesis of all heresies.

  • William, you are confusing the indelible mark with a change of being. I do not know if you are married, but marriage absolutely changes people in their being, in their souls, just as a nun or monk who dedicates their souls to the Bridegroom Christ changes them. And, all the sacraments are efficacious, doing what they signify. From the CCC “Christian marriage in its turn becomes an efficacious sign, the sacrament of the covenant of Christ and the Church. Since it signifies and communicates grace, marriage between baptized persons is a true sacrament of the New Covenant..112″ The change is the two become one flesh, the two going towards God as one, not as two.

    As to attacking me personally, which is argumentation is the fallacy of ad hominum, I forgive you for not staying on topic. However, I am removing myself from this conversation as I do not have to endure personal attack.

    • Augustine

      For information.

      I know a couple of Catholics priests who are members of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

      Before becoming Catholics they studied the Catechism of the Catholic Church over and over again.

      I would guess that they probably know the CCC better than many Catholic priests who are cradle Catholics.

      I have also heard that before they were accepted for ordination in the Catholic Church they were very thoroughly vetted which included an in depth psychological assessment.

      So as well as many young orthodox seminarians in the UK (who might be looked upon as spiritual sons of Pope Benedict) you have also recently had a large influx of orthodox Catholic priests as part of the Ordinariate.

  • Michael B Rooke

    The news feed on some stories is not always reported fully and the purpose of which is to be anti Catholic or promote disunity within the Catholic Church.

    There is an article on Reuters

    that should be bookmarked and read from time to time.

    It might be noted that the Reuters article the source of the Protect the Pope story also managed to
    “Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, who reaped stiff criticism from German Catholics and the title “luxury bishop” in the media after it was revealed he spent at least 30 million euros ($40.69 million) on a new residence complex”

    On that subject it might be recalled that Bishop Tebartz-van Elst, inherited a situation which was a parish complex with conference halls rather than a personal residence as portrayed by the media.

    A Dutch Catholic Website In Caelo et in Terra reports
    “Once again it seems clear that those who know Bishop Tebartz-van Elst personally do not recognise him in the image that his opponents and the media have created. Related to this, Archbishop Georg Gänswein also said that he expects that the ongoing investigation by the German Bishops’ Conference will be concluded positively for Bishop Tebartz-van Elst. “

    The real sin in the eyes of the Liberal media is perhaps
    “Tebartz-van Elst came under criticism by some after defrocking the dean of Wetzlar for blessing a homosexual couple in 2008.” -wiki.

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