It's 'heresy' to approve a new relationship for one still married: dubia cardinal
November 1, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Those who claim it is permissible to enter a new relationship while still married to another are advocating heresy, one of the two remaining dubia cardinals said recently.
Cardinal Walter Brandmuller spoke with the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) in an interview published last week. In the exchange, reported on by Maike Hickson for OnePeterFive, he was clear about the indissoluble nature of marriage and the fact that this teaching cannot change.
Cardinal Brandmüller also reaffirmed that one may only receive Holy Communion if they have repented of an adulterous relationship, confessed their sins, done penance and been absolved.
"And then there is added that whoever is conscious of a grave sin may only go to Communion if he previously has done penance, has confessed his sins, and has been absolved," the cardinal said. "Thus, if someone thinks he can contradict the defined Dogma of a General Council (Council of Trent), then that is indeed quite vehement."
"Exactly that is what one calls heresy – and that means exclusion from the Church," he added, "because one has left the common foundation of Faith."
The German cardinal, a noted scholar and author of numerous books on Church history, and the former president of the Pontifical Commission for Historical Sciences, is one of the four Cardinals who signed the dubia last year requesting clarification from Pope Francis that his exhortation Amoris Laetitia corresponds to the Church's perennial teaching.
The cardinal confirmed in the interview the recent statement by progressive German theologian Magnus Striet — that the pope's exhortation Amoris Laetitia does in fact change Church teaching.
"He is of course right," Cardinal Brandmüller stated. "There are indeed still people who can think. I have the great concern that something is going to explode."
"People are not stupid," he added. "Alone the fact that a request for clarification addressed to the pope, with 870,000 signatures, that 50 scholars with international reputation have remained without answer, does raise indeed some questions. That is really hard to understand."
In a 2015 interview amid the controversial proposals generating from the Vatican's Ordinary Synod on the Family that would open the door to subverting Catholic teaching on the sacraments and morality, he said that those who advocate for changing the Church's teaching on marriage are heretics, even if they are bishops.
"Every pastoral practice has to follow the Word of God if it does not want to fail," he stated. "A change of the teaching, of the dogma, is unthinkable. Who nevertheless consciously does it, or insistently demands it, is a heretic – even if he wears the Roman Purple."
The following year in another interview, Cardinal Brandmüller said, "Whoever thinks that persistent adultery and the reception of Holy Communion are compatible is a heretic and promotes schism."
In the current interview with FAZ, he clarified that it was normal Church protocol to pose the dubia to address confusion when it occurs. Regarding the dubia related to Amoris Laetitia, he explained that the nature of sin does not change over time.
"To put it simply, it is here about the question: Can today something be good which has been a sin yesterday?" asked Cardinal Brandmüller.
"Additionally," he continued, "the question is being presented as to whether there are truly – as the continuous teaching says – acts that are always and under all circumstances morally reprehensible? Such as in the case of the killing of an innocent person – or also adultery, for example?"
"That is where it leads to," the cardinal said. "Should the first question now indeed be answered with 'yes' and the second question with a 'no,' then this would be a heresy and consequently a schism. The split of the Church."
Cardinal Brandmüller expressed great trepidation at the thought of possible schism. "May God forbid it," he said.
He also confirmed for FAZ the reported atmosphere of fear that has overtaken the Vatican in the Francis pontificate, including the tension during the two synods on the family and a prevalent fear of being monitored.
Hickson tied Cardinal Brandmüller's comments with another recent interview out of Germany, where Protestant theologian and general secretary of the World Evangelical Alliance Professor Thomas Schirrmacher – a friend of Pope Francis – stated that the collection of Catholics resistant to the pope's reforms "is not a minority."
"He has made himself immense enemies in the Vatican and he is taking a great risk," Schirrmacher said. "Loud voices in his Church are already denying that he is still pope … "
"Today, there is open talk about what kind of means of resistance against the pope exist. For a Protestant, this does not sound very Catholic any more," he added. "The Vatican still pretends as if this is only a small minority which seeks this confrontation. But this (resistance) is not any more a minority."