ROME (ChurchMilitant.com) - Vaticanista Sandro Magister Monday published a letter sent by the dubia cardinals to Pope Francis asking for a private meeting. Authored by Cdl. Carlo Caffarra, archbishop-emeritus of the Bologna, Italy archdiocese, the letter, written April 25, was hand delivered to the Holy Father on May 6, and is yet to receive a response.
The dubia, or questions, were issued to the Holy Father in September 2016, and came in light of confusion from Chapter 8 of his apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, particularly paragraphs 300–305, used by liberal bishops to promote opening up the sacraments to the divorced and civilly remarried, contrary to longstanding Church teaching and practice.
The dubia noted "a grave disorientation and great confusion" among the faithful over "contrasting interpretations" of the exhortation. The Holy Father, however, has never responded to the dubia, which led the cardinals to request a private audience with him to discuss the widening confusion over the exhortation's application.
Caffarra makes clear the cardinals' respect and fealty to the Holy Father, referring to him in the words of St. Catherine of Siena as "sweet Christ on earth," and rejecting the position of sedevacantists, who deny the validity of the current papacy.
The letter also notes the cardinals' "awareness of the grave responsibility arising from the munus of cardinals: to be advisers of the Successor of Peter in his sovereign ministry."
The request for a private audience stems from the cardinals' wish to clear up confusion, noting the contrary applications of Amoris Laetitia in dioceses worldwide.
"And so it is happening — how painful it is to see this! — that what is sin in Poland is good in Germany, that what is prohibited in the archdiocese of Philadelphia is permitted in Malta," the letter notes, "And so on."
"One is reminded of the bitter observation of B. Pascal: 'Justice on this side of the Pyrenees, injustice on the other; justice on the left bank of the river, injustice on the right bank,' the letter continues.
After noting that the cardinals "feel the weight of our responsibility" as shepherds, the missive closes with a humble plea to meet privately with the Holy Father.
Below is the full text of the letter:
Most Holy Father,
It is with a certain trepidation that I address myself to Your Holiness, during these days of the Easter season. I do so on behalf of the Most Eminent Cardinals: Walter Brandmüller, Raymond L. Burke, Joachim Meisner, and myself.
We wish to begin by renewing our absolute dedication and our unconditional love for the Chair of Peter and for Your august person, in whom we recognize the Successor of Peter and the Vicar of Jesus: the "sweet Christ on earth," as Saint Catherine of Siena was fond of saying. We do not share in the slightest the position of those who consider the See of Peter vacant, nor of those who want to attribute to others the indivisible responsibility of the Petrine munus. We are moved solely by the awareness of the grave responsibility arising from the munus of cardinals: to be advisers of the Successor of Peter in his sovereign ministry. And from the Sacrament of the Episcopate, which "has placed us as bishops to pasture the Church, which He has acquired with his blood" (Acts 20:28).
On September 19, 2016 we delivered to Your Holiness and to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith five dubia, asking You to resolve uncertainties and to bring clarity on some points of the post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia.
Not having received any response from Your Holiness, we have reached the decision to ask You, respectfully and humbly, for an Audience, together if Your Holiness would like. We attach, as is the practice, an Audience Sheet in which we present the two points we wish to discuss with you.
Most Holy Father,
A year has now gone by since the publication of Amoris Laetitia. During this time, interpretations of some objectively ambiguous passages of the post-synodal Exhortation have publicly been given that are not divergent from, but contrary to, the permanent Magisterium of the Church. Despite the fact that the Prefect of the Doctrine of the Faith has repeatedly declared that the doctrine of the Church has not changed, numerous statements have appeared from individual Bishops, Cardinals, and even Episcopal Conferences, approving what the Magisterium of the Church has never approved. Not only access to the Holy Eucharist for those who objectively and publicly live in a situation of grave sin, and intend to remain in it, but also a conception of moral conscience contrary to the Tradition of the Church. And so it is happening — how painful it is to see this! — that what is sin in Poland is good in Germany, that what is prohibited in the archdiocese of Philadelphia is permitted in Malta. And so on. One is reminded of the bitter observation of B. Pascal: "Justice on this side of the Pyrenees, injustice on the other; justice on the left bank of the river, injustice on the right bank."
Numerous competent lay faithful, who are deeply in love with the Church and staunchly loyal to the Apostolic See, have turned to their Pastors and to Your Holiness in order to be confirmed in the Holy Doctrine concerning the three sacraments of Marriage, Confession, and the Eucharist. And in these very days, in Rome, six lay faithful, from every Continent, have presented a very well-attended study seminar with the meaningful title: "Bringing clarity."
Faced with this grave situation, in which many Christian communities are being divided, we feel the weight of our responsibility, and our conscience impels us to ask humbly and respectfully for an Audience.
May Your Holiness remember us in Your prayers, as we pledge to remember You in ours. And we ask for the gift of Your Apostolic Blessing.
Carlo Card. Caffarra
Rome, April 25, 2017
Feast of Saint Mark the Evangelist