Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, one of the signatories of the dubia to Pope Francis, has said in an interview that the formal correction of serious errors contained in Amoris Laetitia "must in the first instance be made in camera caritatis" [in private]. Cardinal Brandmüller was responding to recent remarks made by Cdl. Raymond Burke that a formal correction of Amoris Laetitia would take place sometime after the Solemnity of the Epiphany if the Holy Father did not respond to the dubia.
Cardinal Brandmüller gave his comments on the next phase of the dubia process to Andrea Tornielli, who co-wrote Pope Francis' best-selling book The Name of God is Mercy (2016). Tornielli gave the following account of his brief interview with Cdl. Brandmüller:
"The 'dubia,'" Brandmüller stated, "seek to encourage debate in the Church, as is indeed happening. In his original interview in English (unlike what was reported in Italian media), Cdl. Burke did not specify a deadline but simply responded that we must now focus on Christmas and the issue will be dealt with afterwards."
Burke "did not say," Brandmüller was also keen to point out, "that a potential fraternal correction — such as the one quoted in Galatians 2:11–14, must be made publicly." The passage that was mentioned by the German cardinal is the one from the Letter to the Galatians in which St. Paul describes his disagreement with Peter because the latter wanted to impose Jewish traditions on pagans.
"I believe," Brandmüller adds, "that Cdl. Burke is convinced that a fraternal correction must in the first instance be made in camera caritatis." In other words not publicly. "I must say," he explained, "that the cardinals has expressed his own opinion in complete independence and may of course be shared by the other cardinals too." Brandmüller thus leads us to believe that in the interviews following the publication of the "dubia," Burke was not speaking as a spokesman for the four cardinals who signed the document.
The German cardinal concluded by saying: "We cardinals expect a response to the 'dubia,' as the lack of a response would be seen by many within the Church as a rejection of the clear and articulate adherence to the clearly defined doctrine."
It is important that the next phase of the "process" initiated by Pope Francis' decision not to respond to the dubia is conducted with sensitivity and respect towards the petrine office. The four cardinals have observed such reverence for the office of Pope Francis from the very beginning with their private submission of the dubia in September 2016. In fact, a group of cardinals privately expressed their concerns to Pope Francis about the direction taken by the two synods on the family as early as 2015.
Cardinal Burke set out the timetable for the formal correction of serious errors of Amoris Laetitia in his recent interview with LifeSiteNews:
LifeSiteNews: You have spoken about a potential upcoming formal correction of Pope Francis, should he continue to refuse to answer the dubia expressed by you and the other cardinals — with the vocal support of numerous theologians and tens of thousands of faithful. When would such an action take place, and what would it look like? Can you describe that for us?
Cardinal Burke: Well, the dubia have to have a response because they have to do with the very foundations of the moral life and of the Church's constant teaching with regard to good and evil, with regard to various sacred realities like marriage and Holy Communion and so forth. What format it would take is very simple; namely it would be direct, even as the dubia are, only in this case there would no longer be raising questions, but confronting the confusing statements in Amoris Laetitia with what has been the Church's constant teaching and practice, and thereby correcting Amoris Laetitia.
It's an old institute in the Church, the correction of the pope. This has not happened in recent centuries, but there are examples, and it's carried out with the absolute respect for the office of the Successor of St. Peter, in fact, the correction of the pope is actually a way of safeguarding that office and its exercise. When will it take place? Now of course we are in the last days, days of strong grace, before the Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord, and then we have the Octave of the Solemnity and the celebrations at the beginning of the New Year — the whole mystery of Our Lord's Birth and His Epiphany — so it would probably take place sometime after that.
Originally published at EWTN-Great Britain.