The Vatican’s former doctrinal chief has criticised the preparatory document for the Amazon synod, claiming that it contains “false teaching”. Cardinal Gerhard Müller said the working document used theological terms which are “not clearly defined”.
The synod, which will take place in October, will discuss the problems of the Amazon region, including threats to the environment. It is also expected to be dominated by debate over priestly celibacy.
What the cardinal said
Cardinal Müller, who served as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith from 2012 to 2017, argued that the document represents a “U-turn” from normal theological practice.
Instead of treating Scripture and Apostolic Tradition as containing Revelation, and seeing the Magisterium as an interpreter, it reverses the order: “The whole line of thought revolves, in self-referential and circular ways, around the latest documents of Pope Francis’s Magisterium… Only little is quoted of Holy Scripture, and the Church Fathers barely at all.”
He was even more alarmed by the document’s reference to the Amazon as “a particular source of God’s revelation”. This is “a false teaching”, he said, since Scripture and Tradition are the only sources of revelation.
What Catholic media said
The Jesuit journal La Civiltà Cattolica published an article by Peruvian Cardinal Pedro Barreto, which seemed to allude to the “suspicion” of the synod’s critics. Cardinal Barreto said the preparatory document was based on a wide consultation. “The expression of this wealth can bring, beyond any suspicious position, elements for a better understanding of a reality that is crying out for attention,” he wrote.
Cardinal Barreto is vice president of the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network (REPAM), which was set up in 2014 and has played a major role in preparing the synod. The National Catholic Register reported that the German bishops’ relief agency for Latin America had funded REPAM to the tune of €272,000 (£245,000; $307,000).
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