"A Plea to Untie the Knots in Amoris Laetitia" - We review the letter sent by four cardinals of the Church to Pope Francis.
On November 14, four cardinals published a letter entitled “Seeking Clarity: A Plea to Untie the Knots in Amoris Laetitia,” by which they make public five questions or “dubia” which they sent to Pope Francis on September 19, in which they ask the Pope to give simple and definitive answers to five questions about the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, on marriage and the family.
The cardinals are American Raymond Leo Burke, Germans Walter Brandmueller and Joachim Meisner, and Italian Carlo Caffarra.
As the Pope decided not to respond to the dubia, the four signatories said they read “his sovereign decision as an invitation to continue the reflection and the discussion, calmly and with respect,” and therefore have decided to inform “the entire people of God about our initiative and offering all of the documentation.”
Dubia are formal questions brought before the Pope and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith aimed at eliciting a “Yes” or “No” response without theological argumentation. The practice is a longstanding way of addressing the Apostolic See.
The cardinals said the aim was to clarify “contrasting interpretations” of paragraphs 300-305 in Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia, which are its most controversial passages.
As Cardinal Burke put it (Interview to Catholic Action for Faith and Family, November 14):
My position is that Amoris Laetitia is not Magisterial because it contains serious ambiguities that confuse people and can lead them into error and grave sin. A document with these defects cannot be part of the Church’s perennial teaching.
It would contradict the Faith if any Catholic, including the Pope, said that a person can receive Holy Communion without repenting of grave sin, or that living in a marital way with someone who is not his or her spouse is not a state of grave sin, or that there is no such thing as an act that is always and everywhere evil and can send a person to perdition. Thus, I join my brother Cardinals in making a plea for an unmistakable clarification from Pope Francis himself. His voice, the voice of the Successor of Saint Peter, can dispel any questions about the issue.”
“And Pope Francis remains silent” wrote Vaticanist Sandro Magister.
“Perhaps because he thinks that “oppositions help,” as he explained to his Jesuit confrere Antonio Spadaro in giving over for publication the anthology of his discourses as archbishop of Buenos Aires, which have been in bookstores for a few days. Adding:
Human life is structured in oppositional form. And that is also what is happening now in the Church. Tensions need not necessarily be resolved and regulated. They are not like contradictions. But that’s just the point. Here it is a matter of contradictions. Yes or no? One of these is the only fitting answer to all five questions of the cardinals on these crucial points of Church doctrine and life brought into question by Amoris Laetitia.”
In a few days, on November 19 and 20, the whole college of cardinals will meet in Rome, for the consistory convoked by Pope Francis. We can pray!