At the 1999 synod, bishops seeking change tried to revisit that verdict. Famously, Danneels urged Catholicism to steal a page from the Orthodox, for whom sacraments are seen as “medicine for the soul” rather than a privilege earned by following the rules. Yet in the end, Ratzinger and other defenders of tradition held the line.
In October 2013, Archbishop Gerhard Müller, the Vatican’s doctrinal czar, published a lengthy essay in the Vatican newspaper arguing that Church teaching on the permanency of marriage is not open to question, basically repeating Ratzinger’s position from 19 years before. Francis later made Müller a cardinal.
“But I say, my brother, the world isn’t like this, and you should be a little flexible when you hear other voices,” Rodriguez said. “That means not just listening and then saying no.”