Protect the Pope today reports on a Reuters article which is a true jaw-dropper. It's open warfare in the Vatican as the 'old guard' in the CDF stand up to defend marriage and Christian teaching while the 'new vanguard' propose new ways of understanding that which the Church has taught since Her beginning. Not to put too fine a point on it, even the National 'Catholic' Reporter are presenting this story as 'Cardinal Vs Cardinal'. This is a noteworthy phrase to be applied by the media because various prophecies of recent centuries have forecast a Church future in which Bishop would be against Bishop and Cardinal against Cardinal.
According to Reuters...
Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, the head of a "kitchen cabinet" the pope created to draw up reform proposals, said that Archbishop Gerhard Mueller - who has opposed any loosening of Church rules on divorce - was a classic German theology professor who thought too much in rigid black-and-white terms.
"The world isn't like that, my brother," Rodriguez said in a German newspaper interview, rhetorically addressing Mueller in a rare public criticism among senior Church figures.
"You should be a bit flexible when you hear other voices, so you don't just listen and say, 'here is the wall'," Rodriguez said in an interview with the daily Koelner Stadt-Anzeiger.
Rodriguez, archbishop of the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa, did not cite any possible reforms in particular but said the pope's critics, such as those upset by his attacks on capitalism, were "people who don't understand reality."
"The world isn't like that, my brother."
Excuse me, but we're well aware of what the world is like because we live in it. I was under the impression that the Holy Father has, since his election, been condemning 'worldliness'. Isn't the whole point of his call to radical Christian love the central premise is that Christians should live differently and believe differently to 'the world'. Eh? No?
And so we have a Cardinal close to the Pope's ear now calling out those who stand up for the Christian vocation to marriage for being too 'black and white' concerning its place in the Church as a lifelong union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.
What else about the state of marriage in the 'real world' does Cardinal Maradiaga believe should be accommodated by the CDF? Artificial contraception? Adultery? Domestic violence? Drunken and abusive fathers? Child abuse? Go into the 'real world' and you'll find plenty of all of it, but the fact is that none of it is blessed by God and all of it is destructive to individuals, families and spouses. The 'real world', upon brief examination, makes plain that divorce and remarriage not only constitutes the tearing apart of the original marital bond and the breaking of a public vow to God, but leaves often in its trail broken families and heart-broken children.
"You should be a bit flexible when you hear other voices, so you don't just listen and say, 'here is the wall'.
Does Christ's voice, made clear in the Gospels and made evident throughout the teachings of countless Popes, Doctors of the Church and Saints have nothing to offer the Church in the 21st century. Is this Cardinal an atheist or something? Does Cardinal Maradiaga suggest that when children make demands of their parents that run contrary to the child's good, that the parents consider the child's plea? Does the Church have no Divine Truth to offer to its children other than 'flexibility in all things?'
"People who don't understand reality."
Frightening. At the same time as the reality of Christ's Presence in the Eucharist is disbelieved by so many, at the same time as the reality of the effect of marital breakdown, divorce and remarriage becomes more evident in society, at the same time as the reality of the rejection of so much wisdom and truth offered to the World by the Catholic Church becomes more painfully clear, Cardinal Maradiaga accuses anyone who is not entirely convinced by the Pontiff's personal critique of capitalism of not 'understanding reality' while remaining subjective on other matters. People who live and work in capitalism might understand it better than people who decided to become priests instead, devoting their lives to God, to be funded entirely by the generosity of others.
This Cardinal in one breath invokes the god of relativism by suggesting that the Church does not possess Divine truth on a subject (like divorce, re-marriage and the Sacraments) and then insists that there exists an absolute position for the Church to be taken on capitalism based solely on the personal opinion of Pope Francis in an Apostolic Exhortation. The whole problem (and it is one that Benedict XVI touched on many times) it is only when Our Lord Jesus Christ is rejected as the Reality in which our lives make any sense whatsoever, that we fashion for ourselves a 'new reality' which is entirely subjective. Basically, Cardinal Mardiaga is talking like an atheist who knows nothing about the Church's teaching, criticising Church claims to absolute truths that should be believed by all the Faithful.
After five minutes of listening to Cardinal Maradiaga's Dallas speech, I couldn't help but think that the Cardinal needs to 'take a chill pill' and relax a little about the 'social Gospel' he keeps hammering home wherever he is. There are other things to consider in the Christian life, like saving our immortal souls, striving to live in a State of Grace, prayer and more.
The sad fact of the matter is that neither Cardinal-designate Muller or Cardinal Maradiaga or even Pope Francis himself live in the 'real world'. They live in the Vatican, which is about as far removed from the 'real world' as possible. The difference is that Cardinal-designate Muller is prepared to fulfill his teaching role and his job specification at the CDF for standing up to defend Christian dogma and Catholic Truth, whereas Cardinal Mardiaga is prepared to sell-out the Catholic Faith because he would seem not to believe in it, its teachings or the perhaps even the Divinity of its Founder and Head.