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Names of signatories to Amoris Laetitia letter revealed

Copies of Pope Francis's apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia (CNS)

The names of forty-five priests and theologians who are asking for a clarification of Amoris Laetitia have been revealed.

The National Catholic Reporter has published the list of signatories to the letter, which has been sent to all 218 cardinals and patriarchs.

They include Fr Aidan Nichols, one of Britain’s most distinguished theologians; the bioethicist Professor Luke Gormally, a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life; Fr Giovanni Scalese, the leader of Catholics in Afghanistan; and many other well-known names, including seminary professors and university teachers.

The letter, which has been seen by the Catholic Herald, asks the cardinals to request a clarification from the Pope that some interpretations of Amoris Laetitia are heretical.

The letter does not accuse Pope Francis of false teaching; but it says some passages can easily give rise to interpretations at odds with Catholic doctrine.

It says that a clarification would allow the “many valuable teachings” of Amoris Laetitia to “have their true effect, by distinguishing them from the problematic elements in the document and neutralising the threat to the faith posed by them.”

For instance, the letter asks for a clarification on a passage saying that someone in an “‘irregular’ situation” might “be in a concrete situation which does not allow him or her to act differently and decide otherwise without further sin”.

The signatories say a heretical reading would be “that a person with full knowledge of a divine law can sin by choosing to obey that law”.

They cite the Council of Trent and other authoritative Church documents.

The spokesman for the group, Dr Joseph Shaw, told the National Catholic Reporter: “What we’re asking the cardinals to do is to request of the Holy Father that he make it clear that some interpretations are wrong.

“That what was contrary to the faith remains so, what the Council of Trent taught remains the teaching of the church.”

Dr Shaw, a member of the philosophy faculty at the University of Oxford, is one of several British signatories to the document.

Others include Fr Ray Blake, Fr Thomas Crean OP, Fr Neil Ferguson OP, Dr Alan Fimister, Fr Simon Henry, Dr Anthony McCarthy, Dr Stephen Morgan and Fr John Osman. There are also two Ordinariate priests, Fr John Hunwicke and Fr David Palmer.

Other noteworthy names include the theologian Fr Brian Harrison OS and the Australian scholar Dr Anna Silvas, who has written a thorough critique of Amoris Laetitia.

One of the signatories, Dr Alan Fimister, who teaches at St John Vianney Seminary in Colorado, told the Catholic Herald: “I am constantly approached by people citing this or that passage of Amoris Laetitia and asking how it could be reconciled with the faith as they have received it.” He said that a clarification was necessary to show what was and wasn’t a legitimate interpretation.

Fimister said that when asked to add his name to the signatories, “I couldn’t see how in conscience I could refuse to sign. The faith isn’t a hermeneutical game whereby we find new and interesting ways to give meaning to the same words every few decades, it is the way of eternal life.”

Fimister said he had been “deeply affected” by Archbishop Samuel Aquila’s article pointing out that the martyrs of the English reformation had died for the indissolubility of marriage.

Like many other observers, Archbishop Aquila argued that this teaching was threatened by proposals to admit the divorced and remarried to Communion.

Archbishop Aquila’s article was entitled, “Did Thomas More and John Fisher die for nothing?” Fimister said: “As an English Catholic I feel a sacred duty to do what little I can to see that they did not.”

The full list of signatories, according to the National Catholic Reporter, is below:

Dr Jose Tomas Alvarado
Associate Professor
Institute of Philosophy, Pontifical Catholic University of Chile

Rev Fr Scott Anthony Armstrong PhD
Brisbane Oratory in formation

Rev Claude Barthe

Rev Ray Blake
Parish priest of the diocese of Arundel and Brighton

Fr Louis-Marie de Blignieres FSVF
Doctor of Philosophy

Dr Philip Blosser
Professor of Philosophy
Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Archdiocese of Detroit

Mgr Ignacio Barreiro Carambula, STD, JD
Chaplain and Faculty Member of the Roman Forum

Rev Fr Thomas Crean OP, STD
Holy Cross parish, Leicester

Fr Albert-Marie Crignion FSVF
Doctor designatus of Theology

Robert de Mattei
Professor of History of Christianity, European University of Rome

Cyrille Dounot JCL
Professor of Law, the University of Auvergne
Ecclesiastical advocate, archdiocese of Lyon

Fr Neil Ferguson OP, MA, BD
Lecturer in sacred Scripture, Blackfriars Hall, University of Oxford

Dr Alan Fimister STL, PhD
Assistant Professor of Theology, St. John Vianney Seminary, archdiocese of Denver

Luke Gormally
Director Emeritus, The Linacre Centre for Healthcare Ethics
Sometime Research Professor, Ave Maria School of Law, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Ordinary Member, The Pontifical Academy for Life

Carlos A Casanova Guerra
Doctor of Philosophy, Full Professor of Universidad Santo Tomas de Chile

Rev Brian W Harrison OS, MA, STD
Associate Professor of Theology (retired), Pontifical University of Puerto Rico; Scholar-in-Residence, Oblates of Wisdom Study Center, St. Louis, Missouri; Chaplain, St. Mary of Victories Chapel, St. Louis, Missouri

Rev Simon Henry BA (Hons), MA
Parish priest of the archdiocese of Liverpool

Rev John Hunwicke
Former Senior Research Fellow, Pusey House, Oxford; Priest of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham

Peter A Kwasniewski PhD, Philosophy
Professor, Wyoming Catholic College

Dr. John RT Lamont STL, D.Phil

Fr Serafino M Lanzetta, PhD
Lecturer in Dogmatic Theology, Theological Faculty of Lugano, Switzerland

Priest in charge of St Mary’s, Gosport, in the diocese of Portsmouth

Dr Anthony McCarthy
Visiting Lecturer in Moral Philosophy at the International Theological Institute, Austria

Rev Stephen Morgan D.Phil (Oxon)
Lecturer & Tutor in Theology, Maryvale Higher Institute of Religious Sciences

Don Alfredo Morselli STL
Parish priest of the archdiocese of Bologna

Rev Richard A Munkelt PhD
Chaplain and Faculty Member, Roman Forum

Fr Aidan Nichols OP, PhD
Formerly John Paul II Lecturer in Roman Catholic Theology, University of Oxford
Prior of the Convent of St. Michael, Cambridge

Fr Robert Nortz MMA, STL
Director of Studies, Monastery of the Most Holy Trinity, Massachusetts (Maronite)

Rev John Osman MA, STL
Parish priest in the archdiocese of Birmingham, former Catholic chaplain to the University of Cambridge

Christopher D Owens STL (Cand.)
Adjunct Instructor, Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, St. John’s University (NYC)
Director, St Albert the Great Center for Scholastic Studies

Rev David Palmer MA
Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham
Chair of Marriage and Family Life Commission, Diocese of Nottingham

Dr Paolo Pasqualucci
Professor of Philosophy (retired), University of Perugia

Dr Claudio Pierantoni
Professor of Medieval Philosophy in the Philosophy Faculty of the University of Chile
Former Professor of Church History and Patrology at the Faculty of Theology of the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile
Member of the International Association of Patristic Studies

Fr Anthony Pillari JCL (Cand.)
Priest of the archdiocese of San Antonio, chaplain to Carmelite nuns

Prof Enrico Maria Radaelli
International Science and Commonsense Association (ISCA)
Department of Metaphysics of Beauty and Philosophy of Arts, Research Director

Dr John C. Rao D.Phil (Oxford)
Associate Professor of History, St. John’s University (NYC)
Chairman, Roman Forum

Fr Reginald-Marie Rivoire FSVF
Doctor designatus of canon law

Rt Rev Giovanni Scalese CRSP, SThL, DPhil
Ordinary of Afghanistan

Dr Joseph Shaw
Fellow and Tutor in Philosophy at St. Benet’s Hall, Oxford University

Dr Anna M. Silvas FAHA
Adjunct research fellow, University of New England, NSW, Australia

Michael G. Sirilla, PhD
Professor of Systematic and Dogmatic Theology, Franciscan University of Steubenville

Professor Dr Thomas Stark
Phil.-Theol. Hochschule Benedikt XVI, Heiligenkreuz

Rev Glen Tattersall
Parish priest, Parish of Bl. John Henry Newman, archdiocese of Melbourne
Rector, St. Aloysius’ Church

Giovanni Turco
Professor of the Philosophy of Public Law, University of Udine

Fr Edmund Waldstein OCist.
Vice-Rector of the Leopoldinum seminary and lecturer in moral theology at the Phil.-Theol. HochschuleBenedikt XVI, Heiligenkreuz

Nicholas Warembourg
Professeur agrege des facultes de droit
Ecole de Droit de la Sorbonne – Universite Paris 1