One of the four cardinals who have asked the Pope to clarify his apostolic exhortation on the family, Amoris Laetitia has said that it matters because people’s eternal salvation is at stake.
Speaking to the Italian newspaper Il Foglio, Cardinal Carlo Caffarra said: “We are talking about questions that are not secondary.
It is not a discussion of whether [eating] fish violates or does not violate abstinence. These are most serious questions for the life of the Church and for the eternal salvation of the faithful.”
He continued: “Never forget, this is the supreme law of the Church: the eternal salvation of the faithful, not other concerns. Jesus founded His Church so that the faithful would have eternal life and have it in abundance.”
In the interview, Cardinal Caffarra said that the confusion and anxiety in the Church in the aftermath of Amoris Laetitia was so obvious that “only a blind man” could miss it.
“On these fundamental questions regarding the sacramental economy [matrimony, Confession and Eucharist] and the Christian life, some bishops have said A, others have said the contrary of A, with the intention of interpreting well the same texts,” he said.
The cardinal explained that this was why he and the other three cardinals – Raymond Burke, Walter Brandmüller and Joachim Meisner – had submitted their dubia, asking for clarification of the document.
The cardinal said that the actual text of Amoris Laetitia could be read in continuity with Catholic doctrine. But there were widespread interpretations which conflicted with Church teaching on Communion and moral absolutes.
He said many clergy had found it difficult to give spiritual direction to people who were divorced and remarried because of the ambiguities.
‘Other cardinals support us’
Cardinal Raymond Burke, one of the four cardinals asking the Pope to clarify Amoris Laetitia, has said that other members of the College of Cardinals “fully endorse the dubia”.
In an interview with the Italian newspaper La Verità, Cardinal Burke said that any correction of the Pope would initially be private.
“I never said that a public confrontation ought to occur,” the cardinal said. “I agree with Cardinal Brandmüller – the first step would be to ask for a private meeting with the Holy Father to point out to him the unacceptable statements in Amoris Laetitia, showing how, in one way or another, they are not adequate to express what the Church has always taught.”
The Vatican’s doctrinal chief, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, said recently that he thought a correction of the Pope was unlikely. He cited St Thomas Aquinas’s opinion that it was only necessary to correct the Pope if there was a “danger to the faith”.
But Cardinal Burke said the “confusion” over interpreting some passages in Amoris Laetitia” was “evident”. He added: “I do not see how anyone could be able to say that there is no danger to the faith.”
His interview followed a claim by Edward Pentin, Vatican correspondent for the National Catholic Register, that 30 cardinals had raised urgent concerns about a draft of Amoris Laetitia.