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Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Maike Hickson

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Pope’s doctrine head: We can’t adapt doctrine to suit secularists or ‘superficial’ Christians

Maike Hickson

ROME, May 5, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- In an interview with the French Catholic bi-weekly journal, La Vie, which was published on April 29, Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, once more defended the teaching of the Catholic Church on Marriage.

When questioned about the possibility of allowing “remarried” divorcees to the Sacraments, as proposed by Cardinal Walter Kasper, Cardinal Müller states:

Cardinal Kasper has presented a hypothesis in order to help persons who live in a relationship which, according to the Church, is not sacramental. We all agree about the desire to help our brothers and sisters concerning this situation. But how? The doctrine of the Church is not a theory, it reposes upon the fidelity to the Word of God. The marriage between two baptized persons is an effective sacrament, an objective reality. It is impossible to dissolve a sacramental marriage with all its constitutive attributes of liberty, indissolubility, fidelity and of fruitfulness. As Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith I have to present the doctrine of the Church. The Church cannot change the sacramentality of marriage; one promises to be faithful until death.

Cardinal Müller also cautioned against concentrating too much on the question of “remarried” divorcees during the upcoming Synod of Bishops on the Family in October of 2015:

The object of the Synod is not to discuss the problem of remarried divorcees, but to reaffirm marriage as the foundation of civil society and of the community of the Churches, and to revive its fundamental dimension. The risk is great to concentrate on this particular question while forgetting the essential. It is not about what we would wish, each in his own particular situation. If the Synod should provoke a change, it would be the reinforcement of the prophetic role of the Church. It would be easier for us to make compromises, but the good remedy is that one which permits to look at the situation with truth and to overcome the situation which has rendered possible such an accident. It is not possible to adapt the doctrine of the Church to our secularized countries, and even less to accept a superficial Christianity.

When asked to clarify what he meant with the expression “superficial Christianity,” Cardinal Müller points out that many Christians in European countries “are baptized, but do not believe and do not practice the Faith.” And he continues:

“They do not accept the substance of Christianity which produces a change in thinking and acting: a conversion. I do not judge theses persons in saying that, but in our countries, it suffices to see the percentage of the baptized Christians who are not confirmed or the multiplication of abortions to see that the existence of a superficial Christianity is a reality.”

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