Tolerating subjective decisions of conscience

Bishop Heinrich Mussinghoff of Aachen has warned against unnecessary hardening in the discussion about the Catholic Church’s treatment of remarried divorcees. The Catholic Church’s teaching on indissolubility is not in question. Rather, he said, it is a question of pastoral dealings with divorcees, who have so far been excluded from receiving communion after a renewed civil marriage.

"The debate is not going quite to my liking," the deputy chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference told reporters in Aachen on Thursday. The Archbishop of Freiburg, Robert Zollitsch, had spoken out in favor of a different way of dealing with remarried people, calling it a "question of mercy. In contrast, Cologne Cardinal Joachim Meisner stressed the indissolubility of marriage. Mussinghoff emphasized that no official access to the sacrament is sought. However, the Church cannot ignore the fact that people enter into a new union and that new moral obligations arise from this, for example, with regard to children. Children from these relationships could find it difficult to find their way into the faith if their parents did not go to communion for a long time. Here, a Catholic’s subjective decision of conscience to receive the sacrament should be tolerated.

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