Who decides in the Church if a doctrine is heretic
? Certainly not just the opinion of a group of faithful, even if they are experts in the field. Especially if the result is to cast shadows and discredit on the figure and on the authority of the Roman Pontiff
. But this is precisely the impression that one obtains in reading the letter signed by some sixty priests and lay people who intend to correct Pope Francis
on the content of the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia
. Also the methods chosen for publishing what it is by them considered to be as a "filial correction" against seven (presumed) heresies, leave us rather perplexed. However, the most known name among the signatories is Ettore Gotti Tedeschi
who has already revised his position. According to the former president of the Ior the document "is a prayer written by theologians, it does not talk about heresies but says that it may indirectly facilitate heresies. Let it be clear: I do not blame the Pope, I love him. I am for the Church and for the Pope and I will never separate neither from the Church nor from the Pope. The document is an act of devotion, an invitation to reflection".
Eh no. With good peace of the banker, the document is not only signed by theologians (a couple of examples: there are also the historian Roberto de Mattei
, one of the stronger critics of the current pontiff, and the superior of the lefebvrians mons. Bernard Fellay
, certainly not in full communion with Rome...) and it is a real indictment
against the Pope. Just read some "categorical" statements on the first page of the "correctio": "The Church and the world have been scandalized
with regard to faith and morals, through the publication of Amoris Laetitia and by other acts through which Your Holiness has made sufficiently clear the scope and the aim of this document. Consequently, heresies and other errors have spread in the Church; while some bishops and cardinals have continued to defend the truth divinely revealed about marriage, moral law and the receiving of the sacraments, others have denied these truths and from Your Holiness they have not received a reprimand but a favour".
In reality, the entire document is an alternation of obsequious tones and veiled threats
. On page 2, for example, it says: "Holy Father, the Petrine ministry was not entrusted to you in order to imposes strange doctrines to the faithful". And shortly after (not before having recalled that the infallibility of the Pope has precise limits) it also insinuates that the Pontiff can even be responsible for a new schism: "those Catholics who do not clearly understand the limits of papal infallibility are conducted through the words and the actions of Your Holiness, in one of two disastrous mistakes: or they will to embrace the heresies or (...) they will doubt or deny the prerogatives of the popes. Other faithful are brought to doubt about the validity of the renunciation of the Pope emeritus Benedict XVI. In this way, the Petrine office (...) is exploited to the point of opening the way to the heresy and the schism
". The signatories also accuse Pope Francis of being in contrast
with its predecessors, inflicting to the 'authentic papal magisterium" a "wound which may not heal so soon" and claim to act in the interest of "our Catholic brothers and sisters".
Sin and understanding
Now it is true that some passages of Amoris Laetitia are not simple to interpret. But from here to accuse the Pope of being a modernist
and a fan of Martin Luther
and his vision of the marriage (as it is written in the second part of the letter) there is a long way. Perhaps we should make the effort to not see all black or all white. Francis has said several times that the teaching on the indissolubility
of marriage does not change. But what has changed is the context, the situation of the family as a whole. 36 years are passed from the "Familiaris Consortio
" and the society did not improve. One may say that even at the time of "Humanae Vitae
" Pope Paul VI went against the tide, being aware of clashing with the hedonistic mentality which was more and more spreading in the society. However, it is also necessary to put ourselves in the perspective of the present Pope. Who did not allow living together as man and wife, divorce and adulterine relations. These are and remain sins. The problem is how to reconcile sinners. The truth about marriage
does not change. However, as Moses granted to the Jews repudiation "because your hearts were hard", today we need to recover many hearts hardened and indifferent to the call of God. Surely, we should remember what is the plan of God for the family but how many are those that are able to fully understand it? The objective of the Pope is to bring back the lost sheep into the fold and probably he considers that the road of either/or is not practicable. May we risk to foster a certain moral laxity
? Perhaps. But those who are already aware of what the Gospel demands and of its beauty should not feel "penalized". Otherwise they would just be like the eldest son of the parable of the prodigal son.
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