Sandro Magister at La Repubblica has published a private plea that was sent directly to Francis from four cardinals – Walter Brandmüller, Raymond L. Burke, Carlo Caffarra and Joachim Meisner.
Citing the “uncertainty, confusion, and disorientation” that exists concerning Amoris Laetitia, the plea – which was issued in the form of a dubia or series of questions – was originally sent to Francis in September, but has thus far gone unanswered.
As such, the cardinals have decided to turn up the heat by making the document public along with the addition of a “Forward” explaining their action followed by an “Explanatory Note” to provide additional context.
The public version includes the following:
“Dubia” (from the Latin: “doubts”) are formal questions brought before the Pope and to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith asking for clarifications on particular issues concerning doctrine or practice.
What is peculiar about these inquiries is that they are worded in a way that requires a “yes” or “no” answer, without theological argumentation. This way of addressing the Apostolic See is not an invention of our own; it is an age-old practice.
NB: The dubia has been addressed to Cardinal Muller at the CDF as well as to Francis – a brilliant move given that he is now compelled to answer publicly as well. Based on Muller’s previous comments concerning the matters under discussion, we have every reason to believe that he will answer in accordance with the true Faith.
I suspect that Cardinal Muller is not being blindsided here, but rather is conspiring with the four cardinals that created the dubia; likely from the start.
In any case, involving the CDF will serve to increase the pressure on Francis considerably.
Below are the yes/no questions that make up the dubia that has now been made public. As the well-informed will immediately recognize, the questions asked have already been answered by Francis in various ways.
So, what’s the point of asking questions that have already been answered?
This dubia represents a challenge for Francis to either publicly confirm or deny – in the form of a “yes” or a “no” – whether or not he holds the Catholic faith on specific fundamental matters that treat of no ambiguity.
In a sense, Francis is being put on trial for all to see.
Confirming the true faith, as is his duty, would rip the carpet out from under his crowning achievement, Amoris Laetitia.
Failing to do so would render him a formal heretic.
What I anticipate is continued silence, which will hopefully lead to demands from these and other cardinals and bishops for clear “yes/no” answers to the dubia.
Should Francis choose to remain silent, this in my view would be tantamount to a formal public rejection of the Faith and proof positive that he is an anti-pope.
1. It is asked whether, following the affirmations of “Amoris Laetitia” (nn. 300-305), it has now become possible to grant absolution in the Sacrament of Penance and thus to admit to Holy Communion a person who, while bound by a valid marital bond, lives together with a different person “more uxorio” (in a marital way) without fulfilling the conditions provided for by “Familiaris Consortio” n. 84 and subsequently reaffirmed by “Reconciliatio et Paenitentia” n. 34 and “Sacramentum Caritatis” n. 29. Can the expression “in certain cases” found in note 351 (n. 305) of the exhortation “Amoris Laetitia” be applied to divorced persons who are in a new union and who continue to live “more uxorio”?
2. After the publication of the Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation “Amoris Laetitia” (cf. n. 304), does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s Encyclical “Veritatis Splendor” n. 79, based on Sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, on the existence of absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts and that are binding without exceptions?
3. After “Amoris Laetitia” (n. 301) is it still possible to affirm that a person who habitually lives in contradiction to a commandment of God’s law, as for instance the one that prohibits adultery (cf. Mt 19:3-9), finds him or herself in an objective situation of grave habitual sin (cf. Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, Declaration, June 24, 2000)?
4. After the affirmations of “Amoris Laetitia” (n. 302) on “circumstances which mitigate moral responsibility,” does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s Encyclical “Veritatis Splendor” n. 81, based on Sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, according to which “circumstances or intentions can never transform an act intrinsically evil by virtue of its object into an act ‘subjectively’ good or defensible as a choice”?
5. After “Amoris Laetitia” (n. 303) does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical “Veritatis Splendor” n. 56, based on Sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, that excludes a creative interpretation of the role of conscience and that emphasizes that conscience can never be authorized to legitimate exceptions to absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts by virtue of their object?
(I invite you to read the additional text provided by the cardinals at La Repubblica linked above.)