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Apostolic exhortation cannot go against the Catechism, says cardinal

A woman displays the e-book version of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CNS photo/Nancy Phelan Wiechec)

A retired German cardinal has said the Pope’s long-awaited apostolic exhortation cannot contradict the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, president emeritus of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, said in an article for “A contradiction between a papal document and the Catechism of the Catholic Church would not be imaginable.”

The article was published online yesterday. The apostolic exhortation, entitled Amoris Laetitia (“The Joy of Love”), is to be released tomorrow at noon Rome time.

The cardinal wrote that a married Catholic entering a new union was “committing adultery” and, as long as that person “is not willing to put an end to this situation … cannot receive either absolution in Confession nor the Eucharist”, according to a translation by The Wanderer.

Any attempt to challenge this position, the cardinal said, would lead to an “undermining of the Church’s sacred proclamation”.

He said: “The ‘way out’, in order to allow exceptions, is an impasse. What is fundamentally impossible for reasons of Faith is also impossible in the individual case.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says: “The remarriage of persons divorced from a living, lawful spouse contravenes the plan and law of God as taught by Christ. They are not separated from the Church, but they cannot receive Eucharistic communion. They will lead Christian lives especially by educating their children in the faith.”