From LifeSiteNews.com) – Cardinal Walter Brandmüller has been among the leading voices critical of proposals stemming from the Vatican’s Synod on the Family that risk subverting Catholic teaching on the sacraments and morality. He was one of five cardinals who contributed to the book Remaining in the Truth of Christ, which focused on criticizing Cardinal Walter Kasper’s proposal to open up Communion to those in irregular sexual unions.
LifeSiteNews contributor Dr. Maike Hickson interviewed Cardinal Brandmüller last month.
LifeSiteNews: Could you present once more for our readers clearly the teaching of the Catholic Church, as it has been consistently taught throughout centuries concerning marriage and its indissolubility?
Cardinal: The answer is to be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church no. 1638-1642.
Can the Church deal with the topic of marriage in a pastoral manner that is different from the continual teaching of the Church? Can the Church at all change the teaching itself without falling herself into heresy?
It is evident that the pastoral practice of the Church cannot stand in opposition to the binding doctrine nor simply ignore it. In the same manner, an architect could perhaps build a most beautiful bridge. However, if he does not pay attention to the laws of structural engineering, he risks the collapse of his construction. In the same manner, every pastoral practice has to follow the Word of God if it does not want to fail. 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.
Is not the whole discussion about the admittance of remarried to the Holy Eucharist also an expression of the fact that many Catholics do not believe any more in the Real Presence and rather think that they receive in Holy Communion anyway only a piece of bread?
Indeed, there is an indissoluble inner contradiction in someone who wants to receive the Body and Blood of Christ and to unite himself with Him, while in the same time he disregards consciously His Commandment. How shall this work? St. Paul says about this matter: ‘Who eats and drinks unworthily, is eating and drinking his judgment…’ But: You are right. By far not all Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the consecrated host. One can see this fact already in the way many – even priests – pass the tabernacle without genuflection.
What would you say about the recent statements of Bishop Franz-Josef Bode that the Catholic Church has to adapt increasingly to the “life realities” of the people of today and adjust accordingly her moral teaching? I am sure that you as a Church historian have in front of your eyes other examples from the history of the Church, where she was pressured from outside to change the teaching of Christ. Could you name some, and how did the Church in the past respond to such attacks?
It is completely clear and also not new that the proclamation of the teaching of the Church has to be adapted to the concrete life situations of society and of the individual, if the message shall be heard. But this applies only to the way of the proclamation, and not at all to its inviolable content. An adaptation of the moral teaching is not acceptable. ‘Do not conform to the world,’ said the Apostle St. Paul. If Bishop Bode teaches something different, he finds himself in contradiction to the teaching of the Church. Is he conscious of that?