Cardinal Gerhard Müller has denied saying that there are exceptions on Communion for the remarried, an Italian website reports.
La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana says that the cardinal spoke to them in a phone conversation, in which he distanced himself from claims he supports allowing divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion in exceptional circumstances.
“No, no change and no demolishing the Dubia,” he said. “The purpose of my intervention was only to state that the one way to interpret Amoris Laetitia is in continuity with the Word of God in the Bible, the previous Magisterium, and with the Tradition of the great Councils of Florence, Trent and Vatican II.”
The claims came after Cardinal Müller wrote a foreword to a book by philosopher Rocco Buttiglione that defends Amoris Laetitia. Cardinal Müller wrote that Amoris cannot be interpreted in a way that violates the Church’s previous teaching, however he also mentioned “mitigating circumstances” in an irregular union.
Some observers interpreted this as an attack on the Dubia cardinals, and as backing for a less orthodox interpretation of Amoris Laetitia, but Cardinal Müller has strongly denied these claims.
“The Dubia are authoritative and clearly legitimate. I gave a response that isn’t against any person. My text is clear on this. A correct interpretation [of my text] is that Amoris Laetitia can and must be interpreted in an orthodox way in the unity of Catholic tradition.”
He added: “Unfortunately, some people always take a ‘partisan’ view, for or against the Pope, as if the Church were a political party. My intervention is not meant to continue the polemics but to overcome them.”
When asked if he believed there could be exceptions to the rule that the divorced and remarried cannot receive Communion, the cardinal responded: “No exceptions. This idea is false. I gave a clear theological explanation, which left no room for misunderstanding.”
He added that when Buttiglione talks about exceptions, he is referring to situations where knowledge of the faith is a problem.
“These are cases of unconscious Christians, who are baptized but unbelieving, who may have gotten married in Church to please their grandmother, but without a real awareness. Here it becomes a problem when, after many years, they return to the faith and then question the marriage. There are many such cases. Benedict XVI also looked at the issue.”
Discernment in these cases is necessary, but “this does not mean that one can be granted access to the sacraments without the conditions mentioned above [contrition, confession].”
“Unfortunately, there are individual bishops and whole episcopal conferences that are proposing interpretations that contradict the previous Magisterium, admitting to the sacraments persons who persist in objective situations of grave sin,” he added. “But this is not the criterion for applying Amoris Laetitia.”