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Cardinal Walter Brandmüller

April 6, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Just two days prior to Pope Francis’ release of his Apostolic Exhortation on the family, a German cardinal who has been an outspoken defender of Catholic teaching on marriage and family has criticized as “impossible” the Synod’s suggestion that civilly divorced and remarried Catholic become “more integrated” into the Church. 

Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, president emeritus of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, stated in an article appearing today on the Austrian Catholic website that integration that is not founded on the truths of the indissolubility of marriage and the sacredness of Holy Communion would lead to “conflicts,” “embarrassments,” and an “undermining of the Church’s sacred proclamation.” Reporter Maike Hickson has translated key sections of the cardinal's article at The Wanderer.

The cardinal said that a married Catholic who enters into a new civil union is “committing adultery,” and that as long as such a person is unwilling to put an end to the sinful situation, he “cannot receive either absolution in Confession nor the Eucharist.” Any path other than repentance and change of life is “bound to fail,” the cardinal said, due to “its inherent untruthfulness.” 

This “untruthfulness” directly applies “to the attempt to integrate into the Church those who live in an invalid ‘second marriage’ by admitting them to liturgical, catechetical and other functions,” he added.

The cardinal said that an integration without repentance and change of life cannot be reconciled with the doctrines of the faith. 

“What is fundamentally impossible for reasons of Faith, is also impossible in the individual case,” he said.

Referring directly to Pope Francis’ forthcoming exhortation, the cardinal said that no matter what the document contains, everything stated must be interpreted in light of the unchanging dogmas of the Church, especially as expressed in the Church’s Catechism.  

“The post-synodal document, Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love), is therefore to be interpreted in light of the above-presented principles, especially since a contradiction between a papal document and the Catechism of the Catholic Church would not be imaginable,” he said. 

The Exhortation is to be released April 8 at noon, Rome time. Two left-leaning cardinals — Lorenzo Baldisseri and Christoph Schönborn — will present the document, a move which Vatican experts say could suggest the document has a progressive bent.