Read some excerpts from Cardinal Antonelli's lecture that defends the Church's teaching on matrimony and Communion against Cardinal Kasper's "pastoral solution".
Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, President Emeritus of the Pontifical Council for the Family has spoken out against Cardinal Kasper’s “pastoral solution.”
Recently Cardinal Antonelli gave a lecture entitled “The Marriage Crisis and the Eucharist” which opposes the scandalous notions of Kasper and reaffirms the Church’s teachings on the sacraments of matrimony and Holy Communion. An English translation of his lecture can be read in full here, but we offer the most pertinent excerpts below.
I firmly believe that the main pastoral urgency today is the formation of exemplary Christian families, which are able to give concrete witness to the fact that Christian marriage is beautiful and possible to fulfill.
Marriage is indissoluble
Sacramental marriage, both ratified and consummated, is indissoluble by virtue of Christ’s will. Any division among the spouses is against His will. Any new union of a separated spouse is illicit and constitutes a persistent grave moral disorder; it creates a situation that objectively contradicts the nuptial covenant between Christ and the Church, as signified and effected by the Eucharist. Therefore, the divorced and remarried cannot be allowed to receive Holy Communion, first of all, due to a theological reason, and then, by virtue of the pastoral order.
Compromising the credibility of the Papal Magisterium
The current position of the Church’s doctrine and discipline on remarried divorcees and those who cohabit, is consistent and solidly based in Scripture and Tradition.
One should give due regard to the risk of compromising the credibility of Papal Magisterium, which—as with St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI—in recent times has excluded, repeatedly and firmly, the possibility of admitting to the sacraments those who are remarried and cohabiting. Along with the pope’s authority, this would also weaken that of the entire Catholic episcopate, which shared the same position for centuries.
There is no gradualness between what is true and what is false, between good and evil. While refraining from judging consciences—seen by God alone—and accompanying them with respect and patience steps towards good as can be, the Church cannot stop teaching the objective truth of good and evil, showing that all the commandments of God’s law are requirements for authentic love (cf. Gal 5:14; Rom 13:8–10) and that love, sustained by the grace of the Holy Spirit, can observe the commandments and even go beyond them.
Chastity is possible for divorced and remarried
Therefore, chastity, although difficult, is possible for all, in accordance with their state: as spouses, celibates, divorced and remarried. The latter—even without putting an end to common life for their children or for their own sake—can at least receive the grace and strength to practice sexual continence, and live a relationship of friendship and mutual aid “like brother and sister,” giving up sexual intercourse, which is proper to marriage and characterizes conjugal love (cf. Familiaris Consortio, 84).
Forgiveness without conversion
This [Kasper's proposal] would be the only case of forgiveness without conversion. God’s mercy leads sinners to conversion: it not only frees them from punishment, but also heals them from guilt; it has nothing to do with tolerance. For his part, God always grants forgiveness; but it is received only by those who are humble, who recognize that they are sinners and agree to change their way of life.
The tendency to consider a second union positively and to associate sin only to the previous separation has no theological basis. It is not enough to do penance only for this. It is necessary to change one’s life.
Disastrous pastoral practice of the Orthodox
In this regard, the pastoral practice developed in the Orthodox Churches is instructive. They maintain the doctrine of the indissolubility of Christian marriage. However, in their practices, they have gradually multiplied the reasons for the dissolution of the previous marriage and allowed a second (or third) marriage. Moreover, the number of requests is high. Now, anyone who presents the document of civil divorce also receives ecclesiastical permission to remarry, without having to go through a canonical investigation and the evaluation of the cause.
It is also foreseeable that the reception of Eucharistic communion by divorced and remarried faithful and those cohabiting will quickly become generalized. Then, it will be meaningless to talk about the indissolubility of marriage and the celebration of the sacrament of marriage will lose its practical relevance.
The Church must openly disapprove
Irregular unions of the divorced and remarried couples and of those who cohabit are public and manifest. The Church disapproves them as objectively sinful situations.
Since irregular unions are public and manifest, the Church cannot even take refuge in silence and tolerance. She is forced to intervene openly to disapprove such objectively sinful situations.
In conclusion of a long review of Scripture and Tradition about the indissolubility of marriage
The statement is clear: the absolute indissolubility of ratified and consummated sacramental marriage; although it has not been proclaimed with a formal dogmatic definition, it is however taught by the ordinary magisterium, which is also infallible, and belongs to the Faith of the Catholic Church and, therefore, cannot be questioned.
In order to carry the mission of salvation out effectively, even though the number of the faithful has its importance, the authenticity of the ecclesial communion in truth and love is certainly more important and necessary.
Against the German fear of loss (churchgoers and tax fund)
It would be misleading to seek the numerical growth of membership, by disengaging ourselves from imparting formation, or via an openness that chooses to ignore canonical status, grants everything to all, and falls to the level of general abasement. On the contrary, there is an urgent need for pastoral ministry that must be addressed to all, but differentiated, to care firstly for the few, who are more available, and through them reach out to all others.
In order illuminate and produce heat, the first thing to do is light a fire.
The cardinal's firm stance on the Catholic teachings of sacramental theology comes in addition to the prior objections made by various cardinals and bishops in this open debate, which is in itself an immense scandal for all.
1 Newsource: LifeSiteNews, June 16, 2015, “Retired Vatican cardinal: Adopting Kasper’s plan would weaken pope’s credibility”.