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(Left) Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga; (right) Cardinal-Designate Gerhard Ludwig Müller (CNS photos)

Yesterday Reuters reported on an interview given to a German newspaper by Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa, Honduras in which the influential cardinal criticized the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal-Designate Gerhard Ludwig Müller.

Magadiaga, who is coordinator of the council of cardinals selected by Pope Francis to advise him on curial reform and Church governance, was responding to a question about Müller’s statements on Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics. Last fall, the CDF head published a lengthy defense of Church teaching on the subject; he recently reiterated his position in an interview with the Italian Corriere della Sera, stating, “We must try a combination of general principles and particular, personal situations. Finding solutions to individual problems, though always on the foundation of Catholic doctrine…. [M]any think the Pope or a synod can say: of course, receive Communion. But this is not possible.”

John Allen has a translation of Cardinal Maradiaga’s remarks:

“[Müller]’s a German, one has to say, and above all he’s a German theology professor, so in his mentality there’s 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.”

Rodriguez Maradiaga said he was sure Müller “will arrive at understanding other positions too,” even if at the moment “he listens only to his group of advisors.”

On the question of divorced and remarried believers, Rodriguez Maradiaga seemed to signal support for some sort of change.

“The church is obliged [to uphold] the commandments of God,” he said, including what Jesus said about marriage: “What God has united, let no man separate.”

That said, Rodriguez Maradiaga was quoted as adding, “There are different approaches to making this clear. After the failure of a marriage, for example, we can ask if the spouses were truly united in God. There’s much room for further reflection there.”

However, the Honduran cardinal also seemed to caution against expectations of dramatic lurches in policy.

“We’re not going in the direction that whatever is black today will be white tomorrow,” he said.

Müller was made prefect for the CDF by Pope Benedict XVI, and was confirmed in this position by Pope Francis last September. He will be made a cardinal during next month's consistory in Rome.

 
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Catherine Harmon is managing editor of Catholic World Report.
 
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