In a new interview with the Catholic daily Avvenire, on the eve of the consistory and as the Jubilee of Mercy comes to a close, Pope Francis at last addressed — although offhandedly perhaps even flippantly — the dubia presented to him in the Four Cardinals Letter:
The Jubilee? I made no plan, said the Pope, I simply let myself be led by the Spirit. The Church is the Gospel; it is not a path of ideas. Francis continued, in his conversation with Stefania Falasca, ”I like to think that the Almighty has a bad memory. Once he forgives, he forgets. Because it is blessed to forgive. For me, that’s enough. The experience of forgiveness teaches one to shift the Christian conception from legalism to the Person of God, who became mercy.” “Some, as with certain responses to Amoris Laetitia,” the Pope said, “persist in seeing only white or black, when rather one ought to discern in the flow of life . But these critiques – if they’re not from an evil spirit – do help. Some types of rigorism spring from the desire to hide one’s own dissatisfaction under armour,” the Pope said. No one is selling doctrine.
The Holy Father also referenced the 500th anniversary celebrations of the Reformation in Lund as not a fruit of the Year of Mercy, but rather, of Vatican II. He reiterated again two of his favorite themes — “the ecumenism of blood” and the notion that proselytism is a “grave sin” which he referred to as a “cancer in the Church”.
It seems a very minor response to such a major confrontation. What is interesting is that Edward Pentin, the Rome correspondent for EWTN, appeared on The World Over Live today. On the program, Pentin offered an insight that confirms our suspicions — that the pope is quite upset about the letter:
“…I do understand, from sources within Santa Marta, that the Pope is not happy at all, in fact he’s quoted as ‘boiling with rage,’ so he’s really not happy at all with this, but he had been given two months to respond to it, he chose not to respond to it, so the Cardinals went public.”
The video portion of Pentin’s remarks are below. (If it does not begin at the marked segment, you can find them at at 28:59 in the timeline):
Considering how infrequently Pope Francis chooses silence, it is astonishing that he can’t answer five simple questions.
(English translation provided by Jonathan Arrington)
Edited on 11/19/2016 to include World Over video, correct transcript, and update related portions of post text.
Steve Skojec is the Founding Publisher of OnePeterFive.com. He received his BA in Communications and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2001. His commentary has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Crisis Magazine, EWTN, Huffington Post Live, The Fox News Channel, Foreign Policy, and the BBC. Steve and his wife Jamie have eight children. You can find more of his writing at his Substack, The Skojec File.