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June 27, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Communio veritatis, a group of German priests, recently published, on the Feast of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist, a statement praising the “brave” dubia cardinals and reminding us of the witness of Saint John the Baptist, who died for his defense of marriage.

Speaking about Pope Francis’s post-synodal exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, the priests state that it created a “contradiction” to God’s laws on marriage. When Pope Francis published, in October of 2017, in the AAS (Official Acts of the Apostolic See) the Buenos Aires bishops’ guidelines to admit some “remarried” divorcés to Holy Communion, the “open breach” was implemented, they add.

“Now it is so that the Magisterium (“Lehramt”) of the Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio and the empty teaching (“Leeramt”) in Amoris Laetitia stand in clear opposition to one another, and he who can think, has a clear advantage.”

These German priests praise Saint John the Baptist for his martyrdom and state that he “gave his head for the truth.” “He witnessed for the truth and called out the king’s adultery: ‘It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife’ (Mark 6:18)!” For this truth, this saint had to die. “Would he have presented the eighth chapter of the booklet Amoris Laetitia,” Communio veritatis continues, “he would have most probably been hired as the court chaplain in the palace of Herod and then, decades later, he would have peacefully passed away.”

For these German priests, Saint John the Baptist’s witness shows that “clarity in the truth is absolutely necessary.” Here, they refer to the Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio of Pope John Paul II, in which the pope “clearly reaffirmed, in line with Holy Scripture, the Church's practice, according to which the remarried divorcees who live more uxorio [as husband and wife] may not be admitted to Holy Communion.”

Moreover, the priestly group also reminds us that in 1994, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger referred back to Familiaris Consortio and insisted that there “cannot be any exceptions for certain cases and after a decision of conscience,” in the words of the priests. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 1650) also states that those “remarried” divorcés “cannot receive Eucharistic communion as long as this situation persists,” since their lives are objectively opposing God’s laws.

When the eighth chapter of Amoris Laetitia appeared, it “caused a confusing contradiction, and four brave cardinals with their dubia forcefully lived up to their responsibility before God,” the priests explain. “The absence of a [papal] reply [to the dubia] is indeed the most telling answer of all.”

Since the pope did not respond, it was Cardinal Gerhard Müller — then the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith — who later made a statement, in February of 2017. The German priests quote an interview of his in which he stated that only couples who live in continence could be admitted to the sacraments, just as John Paul II had ruled it in Familiaris Consortio. “One may not say that there are circumstances, under which adultery is not a mortal sin,” as Müller stated at the time. “This is the substance of the Sacrament,” he continued, “and no power in heaven or on earth, neither an angel nor the Pope, nor a council, nor a law issued by the bishops is capable of changing this.”

It is in the context of these statements that the priestly group now sees a “clear breach” as it was manifested in October of 2017, when Pope Francis ordered the publication of the Buenos Aires bishops’ guidelines in the AAS. These guidelines, the priests say, explicitly state that some civilly remarried divorcés may have access to the sacraments even if they are not willing to live in continence.

“In his own letter to the Bishops of Buenos Aires, the Bishop of Rome not only approved of these ‘guidelines’, but also gave them an exclusive status,” the German priests add. These guidelines “completely explain the meaning of the eighth chapter of Amoris Laetitia. There is no other interpretation,” the pope wrote, as the priests remind us.

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Dr. Maike Hickson was born and raised in Germany. She holds a PhD from the University of Hannover, Germany, after having written in Switzerland her doctoral dissertation on the history of Swiss intellectuals before and during World War II. She now lives in the U.S. and is married to Dr. Robert Hickson, and they have been blessed with two beautiful children. She is a happy housewife who likes to write articles when time permits.

Dr. Hickson published in 2014 a Festschrift, a collection of some thirty essays written by thoughtful authors in honor of her husband upon his 70th birthday, which is entitled A Catholic Witness in Our Time.

Hickson has closely followed the papacy of Pope Francis and the developments in the Catholic Church in Germany, and she has been writing articles on religion and politics for U.S. and European publications and websites such as LifeSiteNews, OnePeterFive, The Wanderer, Rorate Caeli,, Catholic Family News, Christian Order, Notizie Pro-Vita, Corrispondenza Romana,, Der Dreizehnte,  Zeit-Fragen, and Westfalen-Blatt.


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