“In December, the website of the Archdiocese of Vienna led by Schönborn published a new presentation of the Ten Commandments. It included a commentary on the Sixth Commandment, ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery,’ that could be interpreted to justify everything from masturbation to pornography and prostitution.
The article concludes — openly invoking Pope Francis’ solicitude for sinners — that refusing communion to the divorced and remarried ‘seems very questionable from a theological point of view.’
Whether Cardinal Schönborn is personally aware of the text is a moot point. But he is responsible for it insofar as it purports to present the teachings of the Church under the official heading of the Catholic diocese of Vienna – and has been online for more than three months.
It says the Sixth Commandment ‘appears at first sight to be clear and unequivocal.’ But things are not so clear-cut. ‘From the start, it is at the basis of the Catholic understanding of marriage and at the same time provides an irrefutable argument against divorce. But this leads to losing sight of one fact: the Ten Commandments, like all rules and laws, respond to specific social challenges and are products of their time. In order to clarify the original intention of the Sixth Commandment, it is necessary to consider the context in which it was born.’…
Under the heading: ‘No depreciation of sexuality,’ it continues:
‘Under its present formulation, the Sixth Commandment does not intend to make a general negative judgment on sexuality, nor does it justify the global prohibition of acts such as masturbation, pornography, prostitution, etc. It cannot even serve to justify easily the indissolubility of marriage, but on the contrary assumes a right to divorce that also existed in Israel.'”