Cardinal Raymond Burke and three bishops from Kazakhstan have signed a document aiming to affirm traditional Church teaching on morality, marriage, non-Christians religions and several other subjects. The statement, which is also signed by Latvia’s Cardinal Janis Pujats, says the doctrines have been “obfuscated, undermined, and denied”.
Why was it under-reported?
This is far from the first document to address current doctrinal confusions: there was, for instance, the 2017 “Profession of immutable truths” led by the same three Kazakhstan bishops, and the “Manifesto of Faith” issued in February by Cardinal Gerhard Müller, formerly the Vatican’s doctrinal chief.
There have also been stronger statements, such as 2017’s “filial correction” which directly accused Pope Francis of helping doctrinal errors to spread. The new declaration does not offer direct criticism of the Pope, so it may be seen as less newsworthy.
What will happen next?
Much of the declaration looks backward. It reaffirms, for instance, doctrines that have been called into question during the post-Amoris Laetitia debates: that marriage is indissoluble, that it is always possible to avoid grave sins, and that the divorced and remarried cannot receive Communion unless they resolve to live “as brother and sister”.
But it also looks ahead to possible controversies over women deacons and married priests – both of which it opposes. There may, then, be more statements to come.
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