The prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith says matrimony isn't only a reality which plays a role in the Catholic Church and life, but also is important for all mankind.

In an interview with ZENIT this week in the Vatican, Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller explains why marriage and the family must be bolstered and how the Vatican, along with various other faiths, is actively doing so, and how witnessing the different faiths affirm marriage together is like a Pentecostal miracle.

While saying how the Holy Father is committed to supporting the family, the top Vatican official also reflected on the International Colloquium on the Complementarity of Man and Woman, taking place in the Vatican, Nov. 17 -19, its goals, and whether it's related to the Synod of Bishops on the Family.

Cardinal Müller spoke to ZENIT on the sidelines of the three-day conference which ended Wednesday and was sponsored by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and co-sponsored by the Pontifical Council for the Family, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity.


ZENIT: Could you speak a little bit on the Colloquium on the Complementarity of Man and Woman, its goals, and how the Holy Father has been supporting this congress and addressing this topic?

Cardinal Müller: The Holy Father spoke many times about the absolute importance of matrimony and the family, for children, for the good future of mankind, and therefore, he created two synods with bishops of the Catholic Church. Yet, [the synod is with the] bishops of only the Catholic Church. But we see that the basis is wider and more profound as we see in the common testimony of nearly all the world religions. Therefore, we have this congress, this international colloquium, of 14 world religions who are representing billions of mankind It's like this Pentecostal miracle to see this unanimity of all these different cultures and religious traditions, regarding [the] matrimony of man and woman. And they all have the same opinion and conviction that the cell of the good evolution of mankind, the development for persons, for couples, for communities is the basic relation of one man and one woman and their love forever.  

ZENIT: What do you hope people will take away from this congress?

Cardinal Müller:  We have other international organizations in some states, they're promoting another vision that's contrary to the natural basis of man and woman as [a] social engineering, [a] social construct. But matrimony and family is a dignity of a person, its not a social construct given by them to make themselves feel more intelligent than others. There's a form of new colonialism and its a feeling of being higher, more intelligent in the Western World than in other countries of the economical development. And though, in this sense, we can't have an approach to the common affairs and common problems in the world. We have to respect all and everybody, and this conviction can't have some groups and ideological formations. We want to be as a teacher of all. We cannot divide mankind, as some who are teachers and others who are disciples. Everybody has the same right to express [themselves] and to live according to [their] religious, philosophical convictions, according to [their] conscience. We have a common testimony, and we have a common, deep testimony. And all the history of this basic importance of the relation of man and woman in matrimony. And this will be the future. And I can say that we as a future-oriented people, that we are the true progressives.We must give more hope, a new future for all man, and the best basis, as a love of [mankind], matrimony and their marriage.

ZENIT: Is this colloquium in any way tied to the synod, or will it contribute to the synods next phase?

Cardinal Müller: No, the planning was independent of the synod. But we always had the same interreligious efforts. But it's a help, I think it's important though for Catholic theology to see that matrimony is not only a sacrament on the order of salvation but as a fruit in Creation. It's always been a conviction of Catholic theology that matrimony isn't only a reality which plays a role in the Catholic Church and life, but is also important for all mankind.

ZENIT:  You mentioned how there are other religions taking part in this colloquium. How are they contributing?

Cardinal Müller: Not only other religions, but all other confessions, not only Catholics. And they have the same rights to explain themselves. We have so many statements from all those representatives of the 14 world religions and (there are) presentations. We have a very good mutual understanding. Everyone, everybody has full respect for the other. This is very important to see how all are coming together in the same basic mission.


On ZENITs Web page:

Popes Address to Open Conference:

Cardinal Müllers Address to Open Conference:

On the NET:

On the Colloquium on the Complementarity of Man and Woman: