MH: Would you like to make a comment about Cardinal Christoph Schönborn’s recent remark that Amoris Laetitia is binding doctrine and that all the previous magisterial documents concerning marriage and the family have now to be read in the light of Amoris Laetitia?
CC: I reply with two simple observations. The first observation is: one should not only read the previous Magisterium on marriage in the light of Amoris laetitia (AL), but one should also read Amoris laetitia in the light of the previous Magisterium. The logic of the Living Tradition of the Church is bipolar: it has two directions, not one. The second part is more important. In his [recent] interview with Corriere della Sera, my dear friend Cardinal Schönborn does not take into account what has happened in the Church since the publication of Amoris Laetitia. Bishops and many theologians faithful to the Church and to the Magisterium argue that, especially on one specific – but very important – point, there is not a continuity, but, rather, an opposition between AL and the previous Magisterium. Moreover, these theologians and philosophers do not say this with a demeaning or revolting spirit toward the Holy Father himself. And the point is, as follows: AL says that, under some circumstances, sexual intercourse between the divorced and civilly remarried is morally legitimate. Even moreso, it says that, what the Second Vatican Council has said about spouses – with regard to sexual intimacy – also applies to them (see footnote 329). Therefore: when one says that a sexual relationship outside of marriage is legitimate, it is therefore a claim contrary to the Church’s doctrine on sexuality; and when one says that adultery is not an intrinsically dishonest act – and that therefore there might be circumstances which render it not to be dishonest – that, too, is a claim contrary to the Tradition and Doctrine of the Church. In such a situation like this, the Holy Father, in my opinion – and as I have already written – thus has to clarify the matter. For, when I say “S is P,” and then say “S is not P,” the second proposition is not a development of the first proposition, rather, but its negation. When someone says: the doctrine remains, but it is only about taking care of some few cases, I answer: the moral norm “Do not commit adultery” is an ABSOLUTELY NEGATIVE norm which does not allow of any exceptions. There are many ways to do good, but there is only one way not to do evil: not to do evil.