In an interview with the French Catholic bi-weekly journal, La Vie, which was published on April 29, Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, once more defended the teaching of the Catholic Church on Marriage. When questioned about the possibility of allowing “remarried” divorcees to the Sacraments, as proposed by Cardinal Walter Kasper, Cardinal Müller states:
It is impossible to have two wives. If the first union is valid, it is not possible to enter into a second one at the same time. A path of penitence is possible, but not a second union. The only possibility is to return to the first, legitimate union, or to live in the second union as brother and sister: that is the Church’s position, in agreement with the will of Jesus. I would add that it is always possible to try and obtain an annulment from an ecclesiastical tribunal.
He said that the Church cannot change the indissolubility of marriage:
The doctrine of the Church is not a theory, it reposes upon the fidelity to the Word of God. The marriage between two baptized persons is an effective sacrament, an objective reality. It is impossible to dissolve a sacramental marriage with all its constitutive attributes of liberty, indissolubility, fidelity and of fruitfulness. As Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith I have to present the doctrine of the Church. The Church cannot change the sacramentality of marriage; one promises to be faithful until death.
Cardinal Müller also cautioned against concentrating too much on the question of “remarried” divorcees during the upcoming Synod of Bishops on the Family in October of 2015:
The object of the Synod is not to discuss the problem of remarried divorcees, but to reaffirm marriage as the foundation of civil society and of the community of the Churches, and to revive its fundamental dimension…It is not possible to adapt the doctrine of the Church to our secularized countries, and even less to accept a superficial Christianity.
When asked to clarify what he meant with the expression “superficial Christianity,” Cardinal Müller points out that many Christians in European countries “are baptized, but do not believe and do not practice the Faith.” And he continues:
They do not accept the substance of Christianity which produces a change in thinking and acting: a conversion. I do not judge theses persons in saying that, but in our countries, it suffices to see the percentage of the baptized Christians who are not confirmed or the multiplication of abortions to see that the existence of a superficial Christianity is a reality.