NOV 30TH 2016 BY DEACON NICK DONNELLY
Ten days after the cardinals released the dubia to the people of God following Pope Francis’ decision not to respond the Holy Father gave an address on the importance of answering doubts and questions to the life of faith. His address was part of the ongoing series of papal reflections on mercy that have featured during the Jubilee Year of Mercy. The Holy Father’s 23rd November address was on the first two spiritual works of mercy, Instruct the ignorant and Counsel the doubtful.
During his talk Pope Francis referred to doubt at least nine times during his short address. His reflections on doubt take on greater significance in light of the fact that the five questions submitted to him by the four cardinals are called dubium [pl. dubia] which is Latin for ‘doubt’.
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In their introduction to the dubia submitted to Pope Francis the four cardinals made it clear that they were motivated by pastoral concern over the “grave disorientation and great confusion of many faithful” caused by divergent interpretations of Amoris Laetitia. It would be a great exercise of the spiritual works of mercy if the Holy Father reconsidered his decision, and answered the serious doubts expressed in the dubia.