Pope criticises ‘legalism’ after cardinals’ request for clarification

Pope criticises ‘legalism’ after cardinals’ request for clarification


by Catholic Herald staff reporter
posted Friday, 18 Nov 2016

The Pope spoke out after a letter from four cardinals asked for clarification of Amoris Laetitia

The debate over Amoris Laetitia has intensified, after Pope Francis suggested that some responses do not understand the document.

In an interview with the Italian newspaper Avvenire, partially translated by La Stampa, the Pope criticised “a certain legalism.” He said that responses to Amoris Laetitia exemplified this, and that some people thought issues were “black and white, even though it is in the course of life that we are called to discern”.

The Pope added: “The Council told us this, but historians say that a century needs to pass before a Council is properly assimilated into the body of the Church… we are half way.”

It comes after four senior cardinals asked the Pope to clarify Amoris Laetitia. In a letter to the Pope, Cardinals Raymond Burke, Carlo Caffarra, Walter Brandmüller and Joachim Meisner submitted five “dubia” – a traditional way of asking for clarification.

The cardinals asked the Pope whether certain Church teachings about Communion and the moral law, which Amoris Laetitia discusses ambiguously, are still valid.

These included the doctrine that the divorced and remarried cannot receive Communion unless living as brother and sister, and the doctrine that some acts are intrinsically wrong.

The submission of “dubia” invites a yes-or-no answer. In this case, it was a question of whether the Pope thought some teachings, especially Catholic doctrine on the moral law, should still be regarded as true.

The letter was sent in September, but the Pope has not replied. The cardinals said they took this as an invitation to publish the letter and let the debate continue in public.

In an interview with the Vatican journalist Edward Pentin, Cardinal Burke said that if the Pope remained silent, it might be necessary to issue a “formal act of correction of a serious error”.

Pentin told EWTN yesterday: “I do understand, from sources within [the Pope’s residence] Santa Marta, that the Pope is not happy at all, that he’s quite at his…boiling with rage.” Fr Antonio Spadaro, an associate of the Pope, has dismissed these reports.

This weekend, the Pope will officially appoint new cardinals at a meeting known as a consistory. However, he has cancelled the consistory’s usual session where cardinals raise issues of concern. No reason has been given, but there is speculation that other cardinals might have wanted to ask about the dubia.

Cardinal-designate Joseph Tobin, who will be created a cardinal at the consistory, told the Tablet that he thought the four cardinals’ letter was “at best naive”.

Meanwhile, two American archbishops have clashed over implementation of Amoris Laetitia.

Archbishop Charles Chaput has issued guidelines for his own archdiocese of Philadelphia, in which he says that the divorced and remarried should be treated with mercy. He also restates the Church’s teaching that they may not receive Communion unless they endeavour to live as brother and sister.

In an interview with Catholic News Service, Cardinal-designate Kevin Farrell criticised the guidelines, saying: “I don’t share the view of what Archbishop Chaput did, no.” Cardinal-designate Farrell said: “It is better to say to the couple, ‘Let’s work together and let’s walk together’ – as Pope Francis would say – ‘through this process and see how far we arrive.’”

The Catholic Church cannot react by “closing the doors before we even listen to the circumstances and the people,” the cardinal-designate said. “That’s not the way to go.”

In response, Archbishop Chaput told Catholic News Service: “I wonder if Cardinal-designate Farrell actually read and understood the Philadelphia guidelines he seems to be questioning. The guidelines have a clear emphasis on mercy and compassion. This makes sense because individual circumstances are often complex. Life is messy. But mercy and compassion cannot be separated from truth and remain legitimate virtues.

“The Church cannot contradict or circumvent Scripture and her own magisterium without invalidating her mission. This should be obvious. The words of Jesus himself are very direct and radical on the matter of divorce.”

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2 comments on “Pope criticises ‘legalism’ after cardinals’ request for clarification

  1. Well, that was a telling retort from Archbishop Chaput. I guess he’s not all bad.

    This pope is constantly giving signals that he is a dyed-in-the-wool modernist. Witness:
    “He said that…some people thought issues were black and white, even though it is in the course of life that we are called to discern.”

    Modernist definitions of truth, from the mouths of the heretics themselves:
    “…truth is life, therefore movement and growth rather than endpoint. It evolves with man, in him, through him…The true and the false are not absolute, well-defined categories.” (Loisy)
    “Truth is the mind’s correspondence with life.” (Blondel) See One Hundred Years of Modernism, Fr. Dominique Bourmaud, p. 338.

    This pope refuses to answer the dubia because he refuses immutable truth, and therefore he refuses the appeal made in the dubia to immutable truths (dogmatic definitions) made even by his own predecessors. For him, it is self-evident, and requires no proof, that he is able to reinvent Catholic teaching; change it or totally discard it at will, provided that his new invention “corresponds with life”. And this “correspondence”, no doubt, is measured by its agreement to current intellectual fads and the secular “culture”. For him, it couldn’t be that these fads and this culture are leading to death, both physical and spiritual, and the total destruction of society, with the resultant chaos, where that very secular “life” he worships will be, in the words of Hobbes “nasty, brutish, and short”. For him, secular life is all under the guidance of the God of Surprises. He can’t be bothered to think through to the logical conclusions of the destruction of morals that he is sanctioning, because logic is so…black and white.

    Poor Jorge. They finally got him between the Rock and the hard place. The Rock is the Petrine Office of his predecessors, who very, very clearly condemn him. The hard place is his own denial of the existence of immutable truth, which his predecessors taught was a heresy.
    So now, if he answers, he will inevitably be convicted of heresy — unless he retracts Mortis Laetitia.
    If he doesn’t answer, except to say what he has already said (that there is no immutable truth), and what his predecessors said is no longer true, that also is a heresy.

    And so it will be revealed, to all who have eyes to see and ears to hear, that this pope IS NOT CATHOLIC, because he has attempted to formally, explicitly and essentially change the Catholic religion, since the very essence of Catholicism, or any religion, is expressed by its own doctrine as to what it itself is.
    In one way of defining it (which, though not Bellarmine’s definition, is nevertheless strictly true so far as it goes), the Catholic Church has always defined itself as the institution founded by Christ, to perpetuate His salvation through time, by means of His teachings and sacraments, which, being established by the Perfect and thus Immutable God, are also immutable. As St. Paul confirmed concerning those teachings: “And we charge you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw yourselves from every brother walking disorderly and not according to the tradition which they have received of us.” (II Thes. 3:6), and “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema. As we said before, so now I say again: If any one preach to you a gospel, besides that which you have received, let him be anathema. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? If I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” Gal. 1:8ff.

    Francis’ only possible way to justify himself will be to prove not only that truth, BY ITS VERY NATURE, changes, but that Jesus Christ thought the same thing, and taught that to His disciples, and that this has always been taught officially by the Church.

    Uh, but then he would be appealing to the existence of an immutable truth in order to prove his contention that truth is always mutable.

    Poor man. You are screwed, but you are too blind to see it; a blind leader of the blind. Like all liberals, doomed to profess yourself wise, while making yourself a fool.
    Will you keep railing about “Pharisees, sitting on the chair of Moses, casting stones at others”, about “rigid legalists”?
    But your problem is that YOU are a more rigid legalist than you Pharisaically accuse others of being. YOU insist on laying down YOUR new and unheard of law in Mortis Laetitia, but Traditionalists somehow are not allowed to simply retain that of Jesus Christ.

    Repent, or it will be said of you “You stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Ghost. As your [Jesuit] fathers did, so do you also.”
    And worse things will come after.

  2. The Pope added: “The Council told us this, but historians say that a century needs to pass before a Council is properly assimilated into the body of the Church… we are half way.”

    I guess it takes 50 years to finally get a “dubia?” Let’s have at it. Make Francis answer for the whole damnable Council.

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