New letter by scholars supports Cardinals' Amoris query

Under pressure

The row dividing the top levels of the Church over Amoris Laetitia has deepened, with 23 scholars and priests publicly backing the Cardinals who have sent the Pope a “please explain’’ over the issue. The Australian reports.

Signatories to the letter include four Australians.

They expressed concern over Francis’ continuing refusal to answer the four Cardinals, arguing “we think that the Holy Father’s continued silence may open him to the charge of negligence in the exercise of the Petrine duty of confirming his brethren in the faith.’

The 23 warn that the Church is “drifting perilously like a ship without a rudder, and indeed, shows symptoms of incipient disintegration. In such a situation, we believe that all Successors of the Apostles have a grave and pressing duty to speak out clearly and strongly in confirmation of the moral teachings clearly expounded in the magisterial teachings of previous popes’’.

The row intensified last week when the head of the Vatican’s canonical court for marriage, Monsignor Pio Pinto, accused the four Cardinals – an American, two Germans and an Italian - who sent the original questions to the Pope of “a very serious scandal’’ and warned they could lose their cardinals’ hats for speaking out.

Australia’s Cardinal George Pell, in contrast, has backed the right of his brother Cardinals to ask the questions, stating in London last week: “How can you disagree with a question?”

The new letter has been signed by an Australian theology professor working the US, Fr Brian Harrison; University of New England academic Anna Silvas; Melbourne priest Fr Glen Tattersall, and Perth priest David Watt.

In it, they urge other bishops and cardinals to back the four Cardinals.

They also argue that bishops and cardinals should support the recommendation by US Cardinal Raymond Burke (one of the four) that if Francis refuses to clarify the issues at stake in line with Church teaching, that “the cardinals then collectively approach him with some form of fraternal correction.’

FULL STORY

Pope Francis faces further pressure over moves to shift traditional teachings

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