World News

Three cardinals back marriage appeal

Cardinal Caffarra (AP)

Six bishops, three of them cardinals, have signed a statement reaffirming the Church’s teachings on marriage and morality.

The Declaration of Fidelity to the Church’s Unchangeable Teaching on Marriage and to Her Uninterrupted Discipline has gathered more than 4,000 signatures worldwide since its launch last week.

The signatories say they are resolved “to remain faithful to the Church’s unchangeable teachings on morals and on the Sacraments of Marriage, Reconciliation and the Eucharist, and to Her timeless and enduring discipline regarding those sacraments.”

They say they have been moved to make the appeal by “widespread” errors about marriage and the family – “particularly after the Extraordinary and Ordinary Synods on the family and the publication of Amoris Laetitia”.

Among other teachings, the statement affirms that the Eucharist cannot be received by divorced and remarried people unless they are living as brother and sister: a teaching articulated in modern documents such as St John Paul II’s Familiaris Consortio and Benedict XVI’s Sacramentum Caritatis. John Paul said that, in this, the Church was “reaffirming” what it had always taught.

Cardinals Carlo Caffarra, Raymond Burke and Jãnis Pujats have signed the statement. So has Bishop Athanasius Schneider, auxiliary bishop of Astana, who has previously called for Catholics to affirm truths which could be undermined by some interpretations of Amoris Laetitia; Bishop Andreas Laun, auxiliary bishop of Salzburg; and Bishop Juan Rodolfo Laise, bishop emeritus of San Luis.

The signatories also include Fr Giovanni Scalese, leader of Catholics in Afghanistan; Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, the former president of the Vatican Bank; the philosopher Josef Seifert, author of a detailed reading of Amoris Laetitia which critiques interpretations at odds with Catholic moral teaching; and several other prominent Catholic figures.

British signatories include the political philosopher John Laughland; John Smeaton, chief executive of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children; and Dr Joseph Shaw, who is also the spokesman for the 45 priests and theologians who have asked for clarification of Amoris Laetitia.

According to the website Lifesitenews, some of the 45 signatories of this private letter have been punished or put under pressure by their employers and bishops.


Cardinal: I will not refuse funerals in euthanasia cases

Cardinal Gerald Lacroix of Quebec has said he has no intention of following in the footsteps of the Bishops of Alberta and the Northwest Territories in refusing funerals for those who asked to be euthanised.

“I don’t plan specific directives aimed at refusing this support or refusing access to the anointing of the sick and the celebration of funerals,” Cardinal Lacroix said. The cardinal was reacting to a document published earlier this month by the Bishops of Alberta and the Northwest Territories, addressed to the clergy, in which they said that the sacraments and celebrations may be refused for those opting for assisted suicide or euthanasia.

“The Catholic Church accompanies people in every step of their life. We do that in dialogue with every person and every family that wishes to be accompanied,” the cardinal said.

Everyone had “unconditional dignity in the eyes of God”, he said. “This is why we will always opt for palliative care accessible for everyone instead of euthanasia.”

In Montreal, Archbishop Christian Lepine also said he did not intend to ask his priests to refuse funerals for those who requested euthanasia.


Pope won’t visit Argentina in 2017

Tn a heartfelt letter to his homeland, Pope Francis has told fellow Argentines that he will not be able to visit this year or next because of obligations in Asia and Africa.

“You don’t know how much I would love to see you again,” Francis said in a letter addressed to the people of Argentina, which is a transcript of an accompanying video message. He said reading letters from Argentines “gives me joy and leads me to pray, and I pray for you at Mass”.