Another look at communion for the divorced

Cardinal Walter Brandmuller

The debate over communion for the divorced and remarried is not closed, writes Sandro Magister at www.chiesa.

Pope Francis doesn't like the discussion in view of the upcoming synod being focussed only on communion for the divorced and remarried. He said so to journalists during the flight back to Rome from the Holy Land. His preference is decidedly for an 'holistic,' global reflection on the family.

But what focussed everyone's attention on that controversial point was precisely the presentation with which Cardinal Walter Kasper introduced the consistory last February. A presentation that Francis immediately passed with flying colours, telling the cardinals he had found it theologically 'profound,' 'serene,' thought out 'on [his] knees,' and that the Argentine Jesuit Juan Carlos Scannone, the theology professor of the young Pope Francis, has praised even more highly in the latest issue of La Civiltà Cattolica.

The fact is that since that consistory the controversy over communion for the remarried has rocked the Church even at the highest levels.

Cardinal Kasper himself has again spoken out in favour of communion for the remarried in an extensive interview with Commonweal.

But there has also been public opposition to Cardinal Kasper, including from Cardinals Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Carlo Caffarra, Velasio De Paolis, and Walter Brandmüller.

The latter of these recently presented a second argument dedicated to this issue, published in Italian on a website of theological reflection.

As the Church historian that he is - and as president for more than twenty years of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences - Cardinal Brandmüller has presented in this essay the clash between Pope Nicholas I and Lothair II, king of Lotharingia, in the ninth century.

Lothair first had a mistress named Waldrada, then married the noble Teutberga for the sake of political interests, and later separated from her and married his previous companion, wanting at all costs that the Pope should recognise the validity of his second marriage.

But in spite of the fact that Lothair enjoyed the backing of the bishops of his region and the support of Emperor Louis II, who even invaded Rome with his army at one point, Pope Nicholas I - now venerated as a saint - did not give in to his claims and never recognised his second marriage as legitimate.

Cardinal Brandmüller makes a compelling reconstruction of the events and analyzes them from the historical, legal, and theological point of view.

- Sandro Magister

Communion for the remarried still a heated debate (www.chiesa)

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