Cdl. Arinze Unites With African Bishops, Rejects Proposed Changes

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by Ryan Fitzgerald  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  October 19, 2015   

"Shouldn't we call things by their name, calling good 'good' and evil 'evil'?"

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ROME, October 19, 2015 (ChurchMilitant.com) - Africa's Cdl. Francis Arinze, former head of the Congregation for Divine Worship, has united with fellow African prelates in condemning proposed changes in the Church.

In two new interviews, Cdl. Arinze rejected the proposal to let civilly divorced and "remarried" Catholics receive Communion.

On Wednesday, he told Crux he believes Africans "would like the Synod to speak with a clear voice that marriage comes from God, as a union between a man and a woman."

"Marriage comes from God, not from human beings," affirmed the Nigerian prelate, "so human beings cannot reinvent or redefine it."

"Christ has said, 'What God has joined, let no man put asunder,' and the Catholic Church traditionally has interpreted it to mean that a consummated marriage sanctified by the sacrament cannot be broken by any authority," said Cdl. Arinze, clearly rejecting Cdl. Walter Kasper's proposal to officially let divorced adulterers receive Communion. Regarding the indissolubility of marriage, "not even the authority of the Church can break it," he noted.

That being so, if a man leaves a woman or asks her to go away, or she does the same, and they get a fresh partner, that can't be approved. Christ has one word for a person who does that: "Adultery." We cannot improve on what Christ has said. We cannot be wiser than him, or say that "there is a circumstance he did not foresee." We cannot be more merciful than Christ.

He continued:

The idea of sin is not something new invented by modern conservative people in the Church. It is Christ himself who called it a sin, and he used that word "adultery." He knows what he's talking about. Without departing from Christ, how can we backpedal?

On softening the Church's language regarding adultery or homosexuality, Cdl. Arinze said he's suspicious, asking rhetorically, "Shouldn't we call things by their name, calling good 'good' and evil 'evil'?"

He doesn't want to see these matters decided locally by bishops either.

Are you going to tell me that we can have a national bishops' conference in one country that would approve something which, in another conference, would be seen as sin? Is sin going to change according to national borders? We'd become national churches. Have there not been other religious affiliations in the world that came dangerously near to that?

National bishops' conferences are important and should have a clear role, but I don't think it should include these areas. It looks dangerously like nationalizing right and wrong.

Arinze went on to blast "ideological colonization," a term coined by Pope Francis which refers critically to the growing problem of wealthy Western nations refusing to help poorer countries unless they accept contraception, abortion, population control or the gay agenda.

More recently, talking to LifeSiteNews on Saturday, Cdl. Arinze expounded on his problem with the notion of national bishops' conferences settling deep-seated theological differences differently.

"The Ten Commandments are not subject to national frontiers," he quipped. "A bishops' conference in a country cannot agree that stealing from a bank is not sinful in that country, or that divorced persons who are remarried can receive Holy Communion in that country, but when you cross the boundary and go to another country it now becomes a sin."

Cardinal Arinze concluded, "If we did that, we have made the Ten Commandments a matter of decision according to sensitivities in each country. It cannot be so."

The reason it can't be so relegated is because of the Church's remarkable unity on matters of faith and morals — "a unity which," as Cdl. Arinze explained, "is not invented by the Vatican, is not invented by the theologians."

"[T]he Church is not actually a national Church, it is one body in Christ," the cardinal reaffirmed.

And while Cdl. Arinze acknowledges the importance of national episcopal conferences, he nevertheless maintains that they have no authority to effect binding changes on faith or morals.

 

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Ryan Fitzgerald is a staff writer and producer for ChurchMilitant.com

Follow Ryan on Twitter: @RyanFitz1111