THE SERVANT GENERAL
TEACHING VERSUS PRACTICE
December 11, 2014
Church doctrine is to be lived out, that is, to be practiced.
What you preach, you practice.
If the German bishops are moving in the direction of liberalizing
the situation of divorced and remarried Catholics because
of concern for German Catholics dropping out of the Church
to avoid paying the Church tax, then is that not like Judas
looking to the thirty pieces of silver by betraying Jesus?
Attempt to divide doctrine and pastoral practice
is a ‘subtle heresy’: Vatican’s doctrine
By Hillary White, LifeSiteNews
The attempt to separate the Catholic Church’s teaching
from her practice is “heresy” according to the
Vatican’s highest doctrinal official.
“Each division between ‘theory’ and ‘practice’
of the faith would be a reflection of a subtle Christological
‘heresy,’” Cardinal Gerhard Müller,
prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,
told a recent gathering of the International Theological Commission.
Such a division could only be the result of “a division
in the mystery of the eternal Word of the Father, who became
It has always been the teaching of Christianity that “knowledge
of God” is ordered to “the ultimate end of man,
for man’s salvation,” Müller said, citing
the First Vatican Council in the 19th century.
There can never be “a gap or a conflict between the
understanding of faith and pastoral or practice of the lived
faith.” Therefore, all “authentic theology”
grows out of and remains consistent with the “theory.”
“You could say that the whole theological thinking,
all our scientific investigations always have a profound pastoral
dimension. Both the dogmatic, moral or other theological disciplines
always have their own pastoral dimension,” Müller
The Christian faith “is not an irrational one,”
he said. Theology “examines, in a rational discourse
on faith, harmony and consistency of the various intrinsic
truths of faith, which spring from the only foundation of
the revelation of the Triune God.” Nor is theology “a
pure speculation or theory detached from the life of believers.”
As prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine
of the Faith, the Church’s highest doctrinal authority
under the pope, Cardinal Müller has been one of the principal
opponents of the proposal by Cardinal Walter Kasper and the
German Catholic bishops to change the practice of the Church
to allow divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive
the Sacraments without a change in their lives.
Catholic teaching holds that marriage is an unbreakable bond,
and thus the Church does not recognize the existence of divorce.
Such people, therefore, are understood to be in a state of
continuous, unrepentant adultery, a mortal sin that bars them
from receiving Communion or the other sacraments.
The pressure to allow this change has grown out of Germany,
where thousands of people in “irregular unions”
every year are opting out of the government-sponsored Church
tax for which the German Catholic Church relies for the vast
majority of its income. At October’s Extraordinary Synod
of Bishops, the push was expanded from allowing divorced and
remarried Catholics to receive Communion, to “accepting
and valuing” the homosexual “orientation.”
The bishops, cardinals and others who have supported Kasper’s
suggestion, have in the main repeated the assertion that Catholic
teaching cannot be changed, but continue to insist that the
practice of withholding Communion and other sacraments from
those in adulterous unions can.
Cardinal Müller has not been the only one to denounce
the idea that doctrine and practice can be opposed. Cardinal
Carlo Caffarra, the archbishop of Bologna, has also said there
can be no contradiction between what the Church teaches on
marriage and her practice.
Prior to the Synod, Caffarra said in a lengthy interview with
the Italian paper Il Foglio that the logic of Kasper’s
proposal, if expanded, could eradicate the very concept of
marriage within the Church. “At this point one might
wonder: why did he not approve of the free cohabitation? And
why not relationships between homosexuals?” Caffarra
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