An April 25th message, written by Cardinal Carlo Caffarra on behalf of Cardinals Walter Brandmüller, Raymond L. Burke, and Joachim Meisner, was delivered to Pope Francis on May 6th; it reiterated the four men’s desire to have five dubia answered regarding Amoris Laetitia and the implementation of that controversial (and sometimes convoluted) Apostolic Exhortation. The message, the full text of which has been posted on the National Catholic Register site by Edward Pentin, respectfully requests an audience with the Holy Father:
On September 19, 2016 we delivered to Your Holiness and to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith five dubia, asking You to resolve uncertainties and to bring clarity on some points of the post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia. Not having received any response from Your Holiness, we have reached the decision to ask You, respectfully and humbly, for an Audience, together if Your Holiness would like.
A year has now gone by since the publication of Amoris Laetitia. During this time, interpretations of some objectively ambiguous passages of the post-synodal Exhortation have publicly been given that are not divergent from, but contrary to, the permanent Magisterium of the Church. Despite the fact that the Prefect of the Doctrine of the Faith has repeatedly declared that the doctrine of the Church has not changed, numerous statements have appeared from individual Bishops, Cardinals, and even Episcopal Conferences, approving what the Magisterium of the Church has never approved. Not only access to the Holy Eucharist for those who objectively and publicly live in a situation of grave sin, and intend to remain in it, but also a conception of moral conscience contrary to the Tradition of the Church. And so it is happening — how painful it is to see this! — that what is sin in Poland is good in Germany, that what is prohibited in the archdiocese of Philadelphia is permitted in Malta. And so on. One is reminded of the bitter observation of B. Pascal: “Justice on this side of the Pyrenees, injustice on the other; justice on the left bank of the river, injustice on the right bank.”
I’ll be shocked—and I don’t use that term lightly—if Francis agrees to meet with the four cardinals, or if he formally responds to the dubia. I believe Francis is content to create the mess that is currently spreading throughout the Church, and even, at times, to encourage it even more by way of dubious assertions.
Back in January, Cardinal Caffarra gave a lengthy interview about the situation, stating:
“We interpreted the silence [of Pope Francis] as authorization to continue the theological dispute. And, furthermore, the problem so profoundly involves both the magisterium of the bishops (which, let us not forget, they exercise not by the delegation of the Pope, but by virtue of the sacrament which they have received) and [it involves] the life of the faithful. Both the one and the other have the right to know. Many [lay] faithful and priests were saying, ‘But you cardinals in a situation like this one have the obligation to intervene with the Holy Father. Otherwise why do you exist if not to assist the Pope in questions so grave as this?’ A scandal on the part of many of the faithful was beginning to grow, as though we cardinals were behaving like the dogs who did not bark about whom the prophet speaks. This is what is behind those two pages.”
Yet the criticisms rained down, even from fellow bishops and monsignors of the curia: “Some individuals continue to say that we are not being docile to the magisterium of the Pope. This is false and calumnious. We wrote to the Pope precisely because we did not want to be indocile. I can be docile to the magisterium of the Pope if I know what the Pope is teaching in a matter of faith and of the Christian life. But this is exactly the problem: what the Pope is teaching on the fundamental points simply cannot be well understood, as the conflict of interpretations among bishops shows. We want to be docile to the magisterium of the Pope, but the magisterium of the Pope must be clear. None of us – says the archbishop emeritus of Bologna – wanted ‘to oblige’ the Holy Father to respond: in the letter, we spoke of [his] sovereign judgment. We simply and respectfully asked questions. In short, the accusations of [us] wanting to divide the Church do not deserve attention. The division, already existing in the Church, is the cause of the letter, not its effect. The things unworthy within the Church, however, above all in a context such as this, are the insults and threats of canonical sanctions.”
Read that entire interview here on CWR.
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