While the Italian Parliament lives heated hours on the eve of the vote on the so-called Cirinna Bill, which would give legal recognition to same-sex civil unions, as well as granting the members of such unions limited rights to adopt children, and the debate does not abate in the media on the statements made by Pope Francis aboard the papal flight returning from Mexico, Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller’s address yesterday morning was perfectly in line with the Holy Father’s words. In fact, it completed them and harmonized them.
Addressing the international congress, titled “Charity Will Never End,” organized by the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the encyclical Deus Caritas Est, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith shed light on the correct relation between the Church and politics.
As reported by the Italian agency SIR, the German cardinal spoke about the debate in Italy, confirming the age-old position of the Church: “Marriage between two men is not possible.” At the same time, he made it clear that to affirm this truth does not imply “to intervene in political matters.” Rather, it is to “ask politicians to respect human nature over which they are not masters, or ‘lords’,” and remind them to “serve the community and not impose a false ideology.”
“Lacking a direct political mandate,” the aim of the Church is not “to put herself in the place of the State,” which “has the task to establish a just social order.”
At the same time, added Cardinal Muller, it is the task of “Christians as individuals” and of the “Church as community” — never of the state – “to render charity testable through the love of God and of one’s neighbor, through the discovery of man’s unconditional dignity.”
Therefore, the Church favors an “organized charity” which is not limited, in fact, to “social assistance” (which does belong to the state and to other lay organizations) and is an “inalienable expression” of the nature of the Church Herself.
Charity, therefore, admonished the German Cardinal, is not instrumentalized, rendering it an “instrument of proselytism,” nor can it be subjected to “ideological pressures,” therefore, “the expert Christian knows when to be silent.”
Speaking of the situation of migrants in Germany, Cardinal Muller pointed out the risk that the help extended to them is “only material,” whereas “the human person is a unity and the material needs cannot be separated from the spiritual” needs.
Hence, it is not necessary, he noted, “to be afraid to give answers of faith to those Muslim migrants that ask questions when they say to us: ‘Christian help us, our Muslim brothers don’t help us.’”
In regard to Deus Caritas Est, Cardinal Muller stressed that the lead motif of Pope Benedict XVI’s first encyclical is the love of God and of one’s neighbor as the “heart of the Christian faith is in the creative, redemptive and operative power of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”
Moreover, the cardinal specified that “hatred and love are the two alternatives between which the destiny will be fulfilled of the world and of every single man.”
There is, therefore, a “direct continuity” between the message of “unconditional openness to forgiveness,” which characterizes Pope Francis’ pontificate, and the first encyclical of his predecessor.
As the structures of the Church must respond to “theological criteria,” even before “organizational” or “purely administrative” ones, Cardinal Muller said he was “sure” that “charity will find the just place in the new order and in the denomination of dicasteries within the project of reform of the Curia currently in operation.”