The Pope’s apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia has caused widespread concern among cardinals and bishops, according to new reports.
Edward Pentin, veteran Vatican reporter for the National Catholic Register, reports:
Before the document was published, 30 cardinals, having seen an advance draft of the apostolic exhortation, wrote to the Pope expressing their reservations, especially on the issue of Communion for remarried divorcees, warning that the document would weaken the three essential sacraments of the Church: the Eucharist, marriage and confession.
Pentin also said that a “significant number” of bishops’ conferences have expressed concerns about the document. Furthermore, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), having seen a draft, submitted several pages of revisions. These were not accepted, according to Pentin. The Pope has also not replied to either the 30 cardinals or the bishops’ conferences.
The most significant public response to Amoris Laetitia so far has been the five dubia (doubts/questions), issued by four cardinals, asking for clarification. One of the four, Cardinal Raymond Burke, has recently said they might issue a formal correction of the Pope if he does not reply.
The exhortation continues to be a hotbed of controversy since its publication in April. It has been criticized for its ambiguity on the issues of the indissolubility of marriage and whether couples in adulterous relationships can receive Holy Communion.
The four cardinals stated when they went public with their “dubia”, after the Pope failed to give them a response, that Amoris Laetitia “implies different, contrasting approaches to the Christian way of life,” and thus their questions touch “on fundamental issues of the Christian life.”
The five yes-or-no questions they ask of the Pope are: 1) whether adulterers can receive Holy Communion; 2) whether there are absolute moral norms that must be followed “without exceptions;” 3) if habitual adultery is an “objective situation of grave habitual sin;” 4) whether an intrinsically evil act can be turned into a “subjectively good” act based on “circumstances or intentions;” and 5) if, based on “conscience,” one can act contrary to known “absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts.”∎