Trying to resolve the German question of divorce

Divorce Vs communion

Cardinal-designate Gerhard Müller has insisted that remarried, divorced Catholics should not receive Communion. A fellow cardinal accused him of thinking in black and white. Nicholas Boyle, an academic in the field, examines the charge.

- The Tablet

When Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga was asked his views on divorce and remarriage and – no doubt humorously – accused Cardinal-designate Gerhard Müller of talking about the matter like 'a German … and, above all … a German theology professor,' did he intend his words to apply (as, taken literally, they do) not only to the current prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, but also to his predecessor but one, our Pope Emeritus?

After all, of both – and to both – it might be said, as the Cardinal put it, 'in his mentality there is 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".' Perhaps the Cardinal intended his (German) audience to reflect on the direction in which, over the last decades, German theology professors have guided the whole Church. 

National stereotyping is hardly a serious form of argument and it tends to obscure the real and specific factors at work in whatever it cari­catures. For instance, in telling its eurozone partners that rules are there to be kept and debts are there to be paid, Germany is speaking with the voice not of some archetypal Swabian housewife but of the actual, current European bureaucracy.

The friction between Europe’s largest economy and other EU members is a consequence not of national character but of the design of the European Union itself – and of particular decisions taken at historical ­turning points, notably at Maastricht in 1991. 

Similarly, it is not to Germanness, nor even to the professional deformation of German academic theologians in general, that Cardinal Rodríguez should have attributed the inflexibility for which he was gently chiding Gerhard Müller, but to the specific historical position of Catholic professors of theology in Germany.

FULL STORY Either one thing or the other (The Tablet)

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