Archbishop Gerhard Muller: the Vatican’s head official on doctrinal matters
In his Corriere della Sera interview, the Archbishop Gerhard Muller explained, “the truth is that we cannot clarify these situations with a general statement. On those divorced and civilly remarried, many think the Pope or a synod can say: of course, receive Communion. But this is not possible.”
He added that this is because a “valid, sacramental marriage is indissoluble: this is the Catholic practice, reaffirmed by Popes and Councils, in fidelity to the Words of Jesus. And the Church has not the authority to relativize the Words and Commandments of God.”
Archbishop Müller added that while the sacraments have a “medicinal aspect” and are not restricted to “the perfect,” an irregular marriage is an “objective obstacle to receiving the Eucharist.” This is “not a punishment” and the bar on divorced and re-married persons receiving Communion does not keep them from attending Mass.
Here is what Lisa Graas, a civilly divorced mother, had to say.
I think it’s really important that I offer my own personal insight on what Archbishop Müller is saying here because I am civilly divorced and not re-married. In the eyes of the Church, I am married, but in the eyes of the State, I am divorced. I chose to remain loyal to Christ and His Church. I see myself as the Church sees me, not as the State sees me, because Jesus is the love of my life. I will not betray Him for romance with someone who cannot ever be my spouse in the eyes of God, through His Church. Jesus has not let me down. He has rewarded my decision by drawing me closer to Himself. There is nothing and no one who could make me abandon my Lord. I imagine that if I had not made such a commitment, I could never have been truly happy. My life would have been more like a misery covered over with a bandage, and a dirty bandage, at that. It would be the same for anyone who “married” me. Only in doing God’s will can we be truly happy.
Some will say the Church is “mean” to do this.
To the contrary, whatever brings us closer to God’s will brings more love into our hearts. The only passion I am interested in is “The Passion.” Everything else is just a game of pretending that will bring only superficial pleasures and bear no real fruit.
My struggle is not with loneliness but with remembering that people who marry in accordance with Church teaching are not doing something superficial. The more years that have passed in embracing our Lord in His Cross, the less I am able to see why anyone would want to marry. That’s a lack of understanding on my part regarding God’s will for the sacramentally married. It is harder for me to personally relate to married persons now because it is so very much not what is right for me. My fault in understanding is the opposite of thinking the Church is “mean” not to allow re-marriage after divorce (absent an annulment.) My fault is in not understanding why anyone would even want to marry when they could have Jesus Himself so closely, through celibacy. As St. Paul says, celibacy is best, but for those who cannot accept celibacy, our Lord has not only blessed marriage, but has elevated it to a Sacrament. How wonderful for you who cannot accept celibacy! If even this is not enough for you, and you think it “mean” not to be blessed in doing whatever you like, I am sorry for your lack of understanding. It is the same as my own lack of understanding, but on the opposite end.
St. Gemma is a great patroness for those who may struggle with loneliness. St. Gemma, pray for us.