Comments in bold by Deacon Nick Donnelly:
Fr Antonio Spadaro, widely known as the “mouthpiece of Pope Francis”, has written an op-ed for CNN that questions the integrity and sincerity of those who continue to question Amoris Laetitia. The CNN introduction to Fr Spadaro’s post makes it clear that it has been written in response to the four cardinals’ dubia submitted to the Holy Father, noting that Pope Francis has chosen not to respond to the dubia. Delia Gallagher, CNN’s Vatican correspondent, summarises the message of this op-ed from a close confidant of Pope Francis, ” Fr. Spadaro suggests that those who criticize the Pope’s document may be trying to create division rather than sincerely seek answers.”
Here’s a fisk of Fr Spadaro’s CNN op-ed:
Fr. Antonio Spadaro: An open and interesting debate
I think that Amoris Laetitia has created an open and interesting debate within the Catholic Church thanks to Francis, a Pope who never blocks dialogue, if it is loyal and motivated by the good of the Church.
The case, however, of those who use criticism for other purposes or ask questions in order to create difficulty and division, would be different, of course.
[Fisk: As the CNN introduction states that Pope Francis has chosen not to respond to the cardinals’ dubia what are we to make of Fr Spadaro’s assertion that the Holy Father never blocks dialogue “if it is loyal and motivated by the good of the Church”? Of course Cardinals Raymond Burke, Carlo Caffarra, Walter Brandmüller and Joachim Meisner are loyal and motivated by the good of the Church. So why has Pope Francis chosen not to respond to them? Surely Pope Francis doesn’t think, in the words of his confidant, that the four cardinals are seeking to create “difficulty and division”? The Holy Father must know these senior cardinals better than that!]
The interesting questions of the four cardinals, in reality, were already raised during the Synod, where the dialogue was deep, extensive and most of all, frank. Amoris Laetitia is only the mature fruit of Francis’ reflection after listening to everyone and reading the Synod’s final document.
It is the result of a Synod and not just a personal idea of the Pontiff, as some might think.
[Fisk. The proposal to allow to divorced & “remarried” to be admitted to Confession and Holy Communion was rejected at the conclusion of the first synod. It failed to attain two-thirds majority. Pope Francis insisted that the failed proposal be included in the Synod Final Report. The mature reflection of the first synod was ignored, and the proposal only made it into the Final Report of the second synod by ONE VOTE. By no stretch of the imagination can it be be claimed that the footnote in Amoris Laeititia allowing divorced and “re-married” to receive Holy Communion reflects the dialogue of the two Synods].
During the Synod, all of the necessary responses were given and more than once. Since then, many other pastors, among them many bishops and cardinals, carried on and deepened the discussion, including recently. The Pope even indicated Cardinal Schönborn as a faithful interpreter of the document.
[Fisk: The doubts expressed in the dubia concerning the doctrinal implications of allowing divorced and re-married to receive Holy Communion won the day at the first Synod. The Synod Fathers realised that allowing individuals to receive the sacrament of Confession and the sacrament of the Eucharist while continuing to commit the intrinsically evil act of adultery would drive a coach and horses through the Church’s moral teaching. The cardinals’ dubia raises the same grave concerns that Amoris Laetitia ignores. All the necessary responses have most definetly NOT been given].
Thus I believe that a doubtful conscience can easily find all of the answers it seeks, if it seeks them with sincerity.
[Fisk. It is not a doubtful conscience that raises serious questions about Amoris Laetitia but a certain faith and a genuine concern for the salvation of souls]
In this case, however, as in others, everything which touches the lives of people should not be resolved in the abstract, but must be dealt with — as the four cardinals themselves affirmed — continuing, “the reflection and the discussion, calmly and with respect.”
[Fisk. Our Lord’s clear teaching that the divorced and “re-married” commit adultery is not “abstract” but advice of the utmost clarity. If you break the Sixth Commandment, Thou shalt not commit adultery, you do grave harm to yourself, your children, your family, and your society. Nothing could be more real and concrete.]