In the shallow, liberal, Italian Catholic weekly Panorama we are informed about a booklet now out over the name of Card. Coccopalmerio, Prefect of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts. It is ballyhooed as “the response” to the Five Dubia of the Four “intransigent” Cardinals, who are dissenters because they are defending doctrine.
Of course it can’t be that, can it? The response to the Dubia should come from the Holy Father (to whom they were submitted) or from the CDF (whose Prefect has spoken unofficially about the issues but who hasn’t issued anything official).
Beware. When you read Panorama your IQ is likely to drop. The use of verbs would help their writers come off as less smarmy. But I digress.
Here is some of the piece in my fast translation. My emphases and comments.
In a little book on the reasons why the Church can’t turn back in the face of those who “are not in tune with Catholic doctrine”.
“Divorced and remarried, unmarried couples living together, are certainly not models of unions in harmony with Catholic doctrine, but the Church cannot look the other way. For which reason the sacraments of reconciliation and of communion ought to be given also to so-called wounded families[a euphemism intended to arouse emotion rathe
r than thought, empathy rather than clarity] and to those who even though living in situations not in line with the traditional canons on matrimony, express a sincere desire to draw closer to the sacraments after an adequate period of discernment.” [Not just “canons”. They are not in line with Christ’s teaching either, or the perennial doctrine of the Church.]
This is the pointed, calm and precise response that Pope Francis gives [Noooo…. Pope Francis didn’t give it. The Cardinal did. But this is what they want you to accept.] to those especially within the church and even in the College of Cardinals, who continue to express doubts about the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia in which, for the first time, there is foreseen the possibility of admitting to the sacraments those who contract a second marriage, unmarried couples living together and those people who live together in deformity with ecclesial directions in the matter of nuptial unions.
An indirect response, in any event, [See the slight of hand?] but [BUT!] the fruit of a deep canonical and ecclesiological study made, at the request of the same Pontiff, by one of the closest and most trusted collaborators, Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts (the “ministry” of justice of the Holy See).
The text – a booklet of only 30 pages entitled, “The 8th chapter of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia” – was printed by the Vatican Press and on Wednesday 8 February arrived in religious bookstores which surround the Vatican.
The Doubts of the Four Cardinals
An initiative, they [the famous “they”] explained in the Vatican, that aims to “clarify” all the “doubts” raised by the most traditionalist elements bound with a vengeance [How mean! How merciless! How … mean!] to the defense of ecclesial doctrine in the matter of matrimonial life and of access to the sacraments. [What sort of surreal, Dali-esque landscape has the Church become if those who defend doctrine are suddenly the dissenters? Clocks are melting off the sides of tables.]
To all appearances, like a “normal” request for canonical clarifications, [This is more slight of hand: the Dubia ask for doctrinal clarifications, not just canonical. So, the respose from an official of a canonical office isn’t going to take care of the doubts.] in reality a gesture of clear though polite disobedience on the part of four members of the College of Cardinals the organism which by its very nature is called to back up the reigning Pope in the governance of the Church. [“Those dirty rotten mean old cardinals! They are mean old meanies!” (That’s the general level of the reader of Panorama, by the way.)]
It is normal that if a Cardinal feels the need to have clarifications on certain matters he can ask for them calmly – they assure us across the Tiber – in the course of personal audiences with the Pope. It is another thing to publish an open letter and bring up doubts and discontents in public opinion. A clearly offensive gesture toward the Pope almost completely like those which are used in interviews. As, for example, the German Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, did in recent days, who, in a newspaper, openly criticized admission to the sacraments of couples living together and the divorced and remarried because, he admonished, Doctrine “is to be left alone” (la Dottrina “non si tocca”). [Do you see what they did? They smear Müller in order to raise Coccopalmerio above him as an authority. Thus the Doctrinal Cardinal is out and the Canonical Cardinal is in.]
This is another confusing puzzle piece to deal with. It is confusing because it has the appearance of official approval (it was published by the Vatican Press), but it remains a non-response response to the Five Dubia. That’s probably why the ad hominem attacks lace the Panorama piece.
In any event, we still – prayerfully and patiently – await greater clarity from some with the true authority to issue what are manifest and actual responses to the Dubia. Or else… we await a statement that they are not going to be answered.
Clocks melting off the edges of tables. Elephants on stilts. This situation is getting really strange.