(Rome) Cardinal Ennio Antonelli is an acknowledged expert on the situation. The 78 year old cardinal knows whereof he speaks. From 2008-2012 he was President of the Pontifical Council for the Family. Now he has publicly warned against giving communion to remarried divorcees. Such a move would be disastrous: it would be a diminishment of the Sacrament, but also the end of the marriage sacrament.
Cardinal Antonelli organized two World Meetings of Families in 2009 in Mexico City and in 2012 in Milan. Before Pope Benedict XVI. brought him to Rome, he was since 2001 Archbishop of Florence, and from 1995 to 2001 Secretary General of the Italian Bishops' Conference, Archbishop of Perugia from 1988 to 1995 and from 1982 to 1988 Bishop of Gubbio.
Former President of the Pontifical Council on Family offers plea for the Sacrament of Matrimony
Although he was preordained, he did not participate on the first part of the Synod of Bishops on the family on October 2014. Pope Francis had not ranked him among the persons appointed by him to the synod. However, he is actively involved in the current debate and in these days published a book. It is titled "Crisi del matrimonio ed eucaristia" (The Crisis of Marriage and the Eucharist" (Edizioni Ares, Milan 2015, 72 pages, 7 euros).
"This is a special book. It is handy, has little pages and reads in one breath. The foreword is by another Cardinal, Elio Sgreccia, the president from 2005-2008 of the Pontifical Academy for Life was" says the Vatican expert Sandro Magister. For reasons of age the renowned bioethicist who was born in 1928 and 2010 elevated to the cardinalatial state by Pope Benedict XVI., did not take part in the conclave of 2013.
Kasper proposal "unrealistic"
Cardinal Antonelli points out how the alleged restriction of admission to communion only to the divorced and remarried is "unrealistic" because the number of people who simply live together, is much larger. Due to foreseeable social pressure and due to an internal logic of the first step, those opinions would gain legitimacy therefore, arguing for an even greater flexibility. It would be then that even homosexual cohabitants will be included.
The cardinal also complains that the Eucharist will be reduced to a mere courtesy with such permissive thinking. "In today's cultural context of relativism, there is a danger of trivializing the Eucharist and to reduce the rite to an act of socialization. It has already happened that people who were not even baptized went to communion because they thought to make a gesture of courtesy, or that unbelievers demanded a right to be allowed to receive communion at weddings or funerals, just because it is seen as a sign of solidarity with their friends."
"Between good and evil, there is no gradualness" - answer to Schönborn's Gradualitätsthese
In response to the theses of gradualness which were put forward by the Viennese Archbishop Christoph Cardinal Schönborn at the Synod of Bishops in 2014, Antonelli wrote the chapter: "Between good and evil, there is no gradualness".
Next the cardinal writes: "The admission of divorced and remarried and the cohabitants to the Eucharist is the separation of mercy and repentance, which does not seem in line with the Gospel", because forgiveness always presupposes repentance.
With Kasper Proposal to Abandon Indissolubility of Marriage
The former president of the Pontifical Family Council warns that no matter what the intentions of those who are in favor of the admission of divorced and remarried to the sacraments, the indissolubility of marriage would be abandoned. "Regardless of their intentions, it will be betrayed because of doctrinal incoherence between the authorization of these persons to the Eucharist and the indissolubility of marriage, end up in actual practice, what in theory and in principle still holds, with the risk that it reduces the indissolubility of marriage to a mere ideal, perhaps even a beautiful one, but an ideal only accessible to the few", said the Cardinal.
"It is foreseeable that the Eucharistic Communion of remarried divorcees and cohabitants will quickly lead to a general state. Then there will no longer be much sense to speak of the indissolubility of marriage, which is why even the celebration of the marriage sacrament is losing practical significance," are the words of warning of the former president of the Pontifical Family Council.
Full content available in Italian, English and Spanish on the Internet
The text of Cardinal Antonelli has published in full on the website of the Pontifical Council for the Family and not just in the original Italian, but also in English and Spanish translation.
"Cardinal Antonelli has presented with amiable stability and practical realism, the doctrine and the pastoral force of the Sacrament of Matrimony. Above all, he makes the untenable consequences visible, which would come with the changes now proposed at various levels of the Church," said Sandro Magister
Text: Giuseppe Nardi