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Cardinal tells synod: no one can change ‘essential Church teachings’

Cardinal George Pell (CNS)

Cardinal George Pell, prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy of the Holy See, has told the synod on the family that it has no power to change “essential Church teachings”.

The full text of his intervention was published in the Herald’s Letters from the Synod. A shorter version was delivered in the synod hall.

In the full text the cardinal said: “Our first episcopal task as teaching bishops is not to be theologians, but to teach, explain, and defend the apostolic tradition of faith and morals.”

He said that, while the synod fathers could “contribute to the genuine development of doctrine”, they had no power to “change or diminish the Word of God, much less to refashion it according to prevailing insights, or relativise the objective truths of Catholic faith and morals as passing expressions in some Hegelian flux”.

Jesus was “not afraid to confront society”, the cardinal said, adding: “He did not tell the adulterous woman to continue in her good work, but to repent and sin no more.”

The cardinal said: “Not even a council with and under a pope can change essential Catholic moral teachings sanctioned by Scripture and the Magisterium. It is for reasons such as these that the Holy Father has said that ‘doctrine cannot be touched’.”