Cardinals Confront the Pope: 13 Prelates to Know and Share

Cardinal Collins Portrait

Voice of the Family brings us the scoop on more internal strife coming out of the ever-changing polyhedron of a Synod, where the rules are more fluid than 21st-century gender constructs and orthodoxy is optional:

Thirteen cardinals have written to Pope Francis to protest about the direction being taken at the Ordinary Synod on the Family. The letter, which was handed to the Pope by George Cardinal Pell on Monday 5th October, is a devastating critique of the conduct of the synod. The cardinals state that:

  • the Instrumentum Laboris cannot “adequately serve as a guiding text or the foundation of a final document” because of its “problematic elements”
  • the new synodal procedures are seen as “lacking openness and genuine collegiality” and “not true to the traditional spirit and purpose of a synod”
  • the “lack of input by the synod fathers in the composition of the drafting committee has created considerable unease”
  • and a “number of fathers feel the new process seems designed to facilitate predetermined results on important disputed questions”.

They conclude:

“Finally and perhaps most urgently, various fathers have expressed concern that a synod designed to address a vital pastoral matter – reinforcing the dignity of marriage and family – may become dominated by the theological/doctrinal issue of Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried.  If so, this will inevitably raise even more fundamental issues about how the Church, going forward, should interpret and apply the Word of God, her doctrines and her disciplines to changes in culture.  The collapse of liberal Protestant churches in the modern era, accelerated by their abandonment of key elements of Christian belief and practice in the name of pastoral adaptation, warrants great caution in our own synodal discussions.”

Reports indicate that the Pope Francis addressed the synod the next day and told synod fathers “not to give in to the conspiracy hermeneutic, which is sociologically weak and spiritually unhelpful.” The pope’s remarks, which are sure to be interpreted as a public dismissal of his cardinals’ concerns, will heighten disquiet about his own role in the synodal process. As President of the Synod of Bishops the pope is ultimately responsible for the way the synod is conducted and for the documents issued by the Synod Secretariat.

VoF gives us the full list of signatories here:

The thirteen signatories, who deserve our thanks and prayers, are:

  • Carlo Cardinal Caffarra, Archbishop of Bologna
  • Thomas Cardinal Collins, Archbishop of Toronto
  • Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York
  • Willem Cardinal Eijk, Archbishop of Utrecht
  • Péter Cardinal Erdő, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest
  • Gerhard Ludwig Cardinal Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
  • Wilfrid Fox Cardinal Napier, Archbishop of Durban
  • George Cardinal Pell, Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy
  • Mauro Cardinal Piacenza, Prefect of the Major Penitentiary
  • Robert Cardinal Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
  • Angelo Cardinal Scola, Archbishop of Milan*
  • Jorge Cardinal Urosa Savino, Archbishop of Caracas
  • André Cardinal Vingt-Trois, Archbishop of Paris, President Delegate of the Synod*

* UPDATE: It has been reported by the Vatican Press Office that Cardinal Scola and Cardinal Vingt-Trois have denied signing the letter.

Let’s hope this isn’t the last we hear of faithful resistance.

UPDATE: Some of the alleged signatories are saying they did not sign the letter. Voice of the Faithful has published another update on this story, which includes a statement issued by Cardinal Pell on the matter.

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