A Public Missive to Cardinal Gerhard Muller,
Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,
Regarding a Public Statement by him on May 4, AD2016
written by Rev. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy
Cardinal Muller’s statement:
“Precisely, therefore, because his life [i.e, the life of the divorced and remarried Catholic who has not received an annulment], which he has in the body gives an opposing sign, he cannot belong to the higher Eucharistic sign, in which the incarnate love of Christ is made manifest, by receiving Holy Communion. If the Church would allow him to Holy Communion she would then be committing the act that Thomas Aquinas called ‘a falseness in the sacred sacramental signs.'”
Okay Cardinal Muller, but how about the Catholics who engages in the slaughter and maiming of enemies, even Catholic enemies? Is that body not “giving an opposing sign to the incarnate love of Christ, which must include Christlike love of even lethal enemies?” Should that person not also be denied Holy Communion? Is not the Church by giving such a person Holy Communion “committing the act that Thomas Aquinas called ‘a falseness in the sacred sacramental sign'”? Or, is the rejection of divorce and remarriage by Jesus in the Gospels more clear than Jesus rejection of violence and enmity? In fact it is not, and you, as a scholar, know that. Indeed, Jesus’ rejection of violence and enmity in the Gospels is His clearest moral teaching.
Sexual intercourse between a man and woman who have divorced and remarried “cannot belong to the higher Eucharist sign, in which the incarnate love of Christ is made manifest,” you say. But severing enemies’ heads, burning their faces off, disemboweling them can “belong to the higher Eucharist sign, in which the incarnate love of Christ is made manifest?” To hold this interpretation of Jesus and His teaching is to hold a phony interpretation of the teaching of Jesus in the Gospels and to foster a brutally contradictory abuse of the Sacrament of Holy Communion. That the one group of Catholics mentioned above is absolutely denied Holy Communion on the basis of their public choice that it is contrary to the teaching of Jesus in the Gospels, and another group of Catholics is permitted to receive Holy Communion who have publicly chosen to flagrantly act contrary to the explicit teaching of Jesus in the Gospels is sacrilege, a violation and misuse of the Sacrament. It operationally amounts to a sacramental theology governed by the crass utilitarianism of protecting self-interests, specifically, the institutional Church’s expedient and profitable relationship with the state and its movers and shakers.
Please, Cardinal Muller, don’t tell the world that the acts of killing and maiming an enemy are possibly morally neutral or good acts depending on the situation, but an orgasm in a second marriage is absolutely and always an intrinsically grave evil that can never be chosen, and if chosen places a person in danger of eternal damnation. When you, or any bishop or priest, explicitly or implicitly speak in this manner you are destroying the Church’s credibility and moral authority and reducing it to just another amoral transnational business entity looking out for its own interests.
To argue that, “Thou shall not commit adultery,” is a negative command and therefore absolutely binding under all circumstances, while “Love your enemies,” or “Put up your sword,” or “Love one another as I have loved you,” are positive commands and therefore are only non-binding evangelical counsels of perfection— to be followed or not followed according to a Christian’s determination whether following them is in his or her interest—is to superimpose something on Jesus’ teaching that cannot be found in Jesus’ teaching, namely, that His positive commands given as imperative sentences in the Gospels are only suggestions to followed if convenient. And, just to be clear on the hypocrisy of this whole situation, the institutional Church raises no objection to Catholics taking oaths in the military to obey orders to slaughter other human beings, even though it is an explicit negative command of Jesus to not takes oaths: “Again, you have heard that it was said to the ancients, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill your vows to the Lord.’ But, I tell you not to swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth” (Mt 5:33-34; Js 5:12). But then, how can the institutional Church deny eighteen-year-old boys and girls the right to take an oath, when Cardinals are not permitted to enter the Conclave to elect a new Pope, unless they take an oath!
To be clear, I am not addressing in any fashion the issue of divorced and remarriage here. I am addressing the issue of the Pharisaic hypocrisy of the leadership of the institutional Church, hypocrisy as spoken about by Jesus in the Gospels. It is religious hypocrisy when those who hold the keys to the Kingdom in the minds of people demand absolute obedience from those people, regardless of the cost involved, to a teaching of Jesus that effects isolated individual lives, but grants to themselves, and the institutional Church they control, extravagant artificially created loopholes to a teaching the institutional Church leaders feel that they do not want to abide by, i.e., Jesus rejection of violence and enmity. Church leaders dive into such blatant hypocrisy with the hope that their “big lie,” will become unquestioned normalized “Gospel truth.” They believe that if they taught and struggled to live what Jesus taught and struggles to live in relation to the phenomena of violence and enmity, they could not protect and enhance the great wealth and secular status possessed by the institutional Church—and they could not protect and enhance the institutional Church’s privileged position with the economic and political power people of the kingdoms of the Western world.
The hierarchy and its clerics in the institutional Church have been and are literally destroying people in monstrous numbers in body, mind, soul and spirit by giving a false direction to the imperative teaching of Jesus that rejects violence and enmity and that explicitly command a Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies, as He loved His friends and enemies. This false direction is markedly promoted by abusing the Sacrament of Holy Communion by giving Holy Communion to militarized Christians, who knowingly and intentionally are on their way to kill and maim other members of the Body of Christ and/or other infinitely loved sons and daughters of the “Father of all” (Ephod 4:6).
Cardinal Muller, the motto on your coat-of arms is, Dominus Jesus, “Jesus is Lord.” This self-evidently means that you and no one else in the Church can ever be or can ever desire to be an Ubermensch, a superior man who can rise above the morality, the truth of the will of God, taught by the Lord Jesus in the Gospels, and instead teach, nurture and/or impose your own values on the Church and its people.
-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy