DIVORCED CATHOLICS: Honduran and German cardinal square off with opposing views
Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga and Cardinal Müller go toe-to-toe on church doctrine regarding divorce
The topic of divorce and remarriage has been a flashpoint concerning Catholic doctrine. A rift has now been opened between Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga and German Cardinal-designate Gerhard Müller, both who have significant Vatican influence.
Named last year as the coordinator of the pope's kitchen cabinet of eight cardinals from around the world, Rodriguez Maradiaga, as the head of the pope's Council of Cardinals has suggested that the Vatican's doctrinal czar needs to be more "flexible" in his views on divorced and remarried Catholics.
Rodriguez Maradiaga was asked about a recent article in which Müller reiterated barring divorced and civilly remarried Catholics from the sacraments.
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"I think I understand it," Rodriguez Maradiaga is quoted as replying. "He's a German, one has to say, and above all he's a German theology professor, so in his mentality there's only truth and falsehood. But I say, my brother, the world isn't like this, and you should be a little flexible when you hear other voices. That means not just listening and then saying no."
Rodriguez Maradiaga said he was sure Müller "will arrive at understanding other positions too," even if at the moment "he listens only to his group of advisers."
Rodriguez Maradiaga seemed to signal support for some sort of change.
"The church is obliged [to uphold] the commandments of God," he said, including what Jesus said about marriage: "What God has united, let no man separate.
"There are different approaches to making this clear. After the failure of a marriage, for example, we can ask if the spouses were truly united in God. There's much room for further reflection there."
The Honduran cardinal appeared to caution against expectations of dramatic lurches in policy.
"We're not going in the direction that whatever is black today will be white tomorrow," he said.
In the interview, Rodriguez Maradiaga said he has not yet spoken to Müller, who will be made a cardinal by Pope Francis in a consistory scheduled for February 22, about the issue of divorced and remarried Catholics.
Pope Francis has himself signaled openness to some flexibility on access to the sacraments for divorced and remarried Catholics, saying during a press conference on an airplane during his return from Brazil in July that perhaps Catholicism could learn something from the practice of Eastern Orthodox churches of recognizing a second marriage.
Francis has also announced that the issue will be on the agenda for the upcoming Synod of Bishops on the Family, to be held in the Vatican in October.
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