Four semi-retired Cardinals have questioned Pope Francis' teachings on family life, issuing an open letter to him to clarify how he understands Church teaching following the publication of Amoris Laetita, reports NCR Online.
While the Cardinals say they are writing the note in "an act of justice and charity" to allow the Pope to "dispel all ambiguity" about his exhortation, they pit Francis' document against others written by his predecessors John Paul II and Benedict XVI.
Publication of such an open challenge to a Pope from some of his Cardinals is exceedingly rare.
Although 13 Cardinals were reported to have questioned Francis in a letter during the 2015 Synod of Bishops, their letter was only made public after it was leaked to the press. Once it was public, several of the prelates attached to the note publicly distanced themselves from it.
The new letter on Amoris Laetita, which has five yes-or-no questions, was published openly on Monday after it was given to a number of news organisations. The full text was posted by the National Catholic Register.
The four Cardinals say they decided to make their letter public after their original September 19 note to Francis and to Cardinal Gerhard Muller, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, did not receive a response.
The four prelates signing the document are: Carlo Caffarra, former Archbishop of Bologna; Raymond Burke, head of the Order of Malta; Walter Brandmüller, former president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences; and Joachim Meisner, former Archbishop of Cologne.
Pope Francis declines to answer four Cardinals’ Amoris appeal (The Catholic Herald)