The German Cardinal Brandmuller affirms that certain prelates of his native country are holding positions in contradiction to Church teaching.
Image above: Cardinal Walter Brandmuller.
From DICI no. 314, we present an interview conducted by LifeSiteNews with Cardinal Walter Brandmuller, who speaks out against the heterodoxy being preached by some of his German brothers in the episcopacy.
Cardinal Walter Brandmuller: “The well-known statements of Cardinal Marx are in contradiction with the dogma of the Church”
On April 14, Cardinal Walter Brandmuller, President Emeritus of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences and one of the five cardinals who co-authored the book Remaining in the Truth of Christ (Ignatius Press), answered questions from Dr. Maike Hickson of LifeSiteNews:
LSN: Can the Church deal with the topic of marriage in a pastoral manner that is different from the continual teaching of the Church? Can the Church at all change the teaching itself without falling herself into heresy?
WB: It is evident that the pastoral practice of the Church cannot stand in opposition to the binding doctrine nor simply ignore it. In the same manner, an architect could perhaps build a most beautiful bridge. However, if he does not pay attention to the laws of structural engineering, he risks the collapse of his construction. In the same manner, every pastoral practice has to follow the Word of God if it does not want to fail. A change of the teaching, of the dogma, is unthinkable. Who nevertheless consciously does it, or insistently demands it, is a heretic—even if he wears the Roman Purple.
LSN: Is not the whole discussion about the admittance of remarried to the Holy Eucharist also an expression of the fact that many Catholics do not believe any more in the Real Presence and rather think that they receive in Holy Communion anyway only a piece of bread?
WB: Indeed, there is an indissoluble inner contradiction in someone who wants to receive the Body and Blood of Christ and to unite himself with Him, while in the same time he disregards consciously His Commandment. How shall this work? St. Paul says about this matter: "Who eats and drinks unworthily, is eating and drinking his judgment…" But: You are right. By far not all Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the consecrated Host. One can see this fact already in the way many—even priests—pass the tabernacle without genuflection.
LSN: Why is there nowadays such a strong attack on the indissolubility of marriage within the Church? A possible answer could be that the spirit of relativism has entered the Church, but there must be more reasons. Could you name some? And are not all these reasons a sign of the crisis of Faith within the Church herself?
WB: Of course, if certain moral standards that have been valid generally, always, and everywhere are no longer recognized, then everybody makes himself his own moral law. That has as a consequence that one does what one pleases. It can be added the individualistic approach to life which regards life as a single chance for self-actualization—and not as a mission of the Creator. It is evident that such attitudes are the expression of a profound loss of Faith.
LSN: In this context, one can state that there was little discussion in the last decades on the teaching about Fallen Human Nature. The dominant impression was that man, all in all, is good. In my view, this has led to a lax attitude toward sin. Now, that we see the result of such a lax attitude—an explosion of inhuman conduct in all possible areas of human life—should this not be a reason for the Church to see that the teaching on Fallen Human Nature has been confirmed and to therefore proclaim it again?
WB: That is true, indeed. The topic ‘Original Sin’ with its consequences, the necessity for Redemption through the suffering, death and Resurrection of Christ has been largely suppressed and forgotten for a long time. However, one cannot understand the course of the world—and one’s own life—without these truths. It is unavoidable that this ignoring of essential truths leads to moral misconduct. You are right: one should finally preach again about this topic, and with clarity….
LSN: What would you say about the recent statements by Bishop Franz-Josef Bode [President of the Pastoral Commission of the German Bishops’ Conference] that the Catholic Church has to adapt increasingly to the “life realities” of the people of today and adjust her moral teaching accordingly? I am sure that you as a Church historian have in front of your eyes other examples from the history of the Church, where she was pressured from outside to change the teaching of Christ. Could you name some, and how did the Church in the past respond to such attacks?
WB: It is completely clear and also not new that the proclamation of the teaching of the Church has to be adapted to the concrete life situations of society and of the individual, if the message is to be heard. But this applies only to the manner of the proclamation, and not at all to its inviolable content. An adaptation of the moral teaching is not acceptable. "Do not conform to the world," said the Apostle St. Paul. If Bishop Bode teaches something different, he finds himself in contradiction to the teaching of the Church. Is he conscious of that?
LSN: Is the German Catholic Church permitted to go her own paths in the question of the admittance of remarried couples to the Holy Eucharist and thereby decide independently of Rome, as Reinhard Cardinal Marx asserted after the recent meeting of the German Bishops Conference?
WB: The well-known statements of Cardinal Marx are in contradiction with the dogma of the Church. They are irresponsible from a pastoral perspective, because they expose the faithful to confusion and doubts. If he thinks that he can take nationally an independent path, he puts the unity of the Church at risk. The fact remains: the binding standard for all of the teaching and practice of the Church are her clearly defined doctrines.
(Source: LifeSiteNews—DICI no. 314, 4-24-2015)