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Cardinal Walter Brandmüller

GERMANY, March 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – One of the two living dubia cardinals criticized his fellow German bishops’ “wholly dishonest ploy” of allowing Protestant spouses of Catholics to receive Holy Communion.

Cardinal Walter Brandmüller warned that normalizing “emergency” exceptions allowed in Canon Law is a “wicked trick.”

Brandmüller, who is 89, told this to a journalist. At One Peter Five, Dr. Maike Hickson translated the cardinal’s remarks.

Germany’s bishops, most of whom champion Communion for adulterers, announced last month that they will allow some Protestant spouses to receive Holy Communion.

The Catholic Church teaches that the Eucharist is the literal body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus. One must be in full communion with the Catholic Church to receive the Eucharist. Catholics must also be free from mortal sin to receive.

Canon 844 § 4 of the Code of Canon Law allows non-Catholics to receive Holy Communion in limited, emergency circumstances.

That canon says:

If the danger of death is present or if, in the judgment of the diocesan bishop or conference of bishops, some other grave necessity urges it, Catholic ministers administer these same sacraments licitly also to other Christians not having full communion with the Catholic Church, who cannot approach a minister of their own community and who seek such on their own accord, provided that they manifest Catholic faith in respect to these sacraments and are properly disposed.

“If now the document of the German bishops speaks about individual cases in which this may be possible, then this is in and of itself only a tactical step toward general intercommunion with non-Catholics,” said Brandmüller. “One also calls such an approach ‘salami tactics.’ And: constant dripping wears down the stone. It is a wholly dishonest ploy, in order to get to the true goal.”

That “true goal” is opening up Catholic Communion to many more non-Catholics, he said, warning of St. Paul’s admonition that those who eat the bread or drink “the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the Body and Blood of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 11:27).

“A Christian who truly yearns for Holy Communion and who knows that there is no Eucharist without the Church and no Church without the Eucharist, will ask for admittance into the Catholic Church,” said Brandmüller. “Anything else would be doubtful and dishonest.”

Brandmüller said that the notion there are Protestant spouses truly “yearning” for the Eucharist yet who don’t want to be part of the Catholic Church is “a case that is construed with quite some effort,” “an embarrassing melodramatic set up,” and “sob-stuff.”

Hickson reported:

Cardinal Brandmüller also discusses the German bishops’ reference to Code of Canon Law 844 § 3 and 4 which speak about emergency situations, in which an Orthodox Catholic (§ 3) or a Christian from other denominations (§ 4) may have recourse to the Church’s Sacraments when there is an imminent danger of death or a situation of imprisonment, and only in the case that that the individual Christian “is disposed in the right way,” which means “to be free from mortal sin and to have the honest desire to receive the Sacrament,” according to the cardinal. He also repeats his question as to why such a person “who fulfills those conditions, and who is not in an emergency situation, should not simply ask to be admitted to the Church.”