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Cardinal Burke could issue correction to Amoris Latetia in January -- is this a sign of SCHISM?

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By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
12/20/2016 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (

Pope Francis has declined to answer the 'dubia' presented by four cardinals.

Cardinal Raymond Burke says he may issue a formal correction to Pope Francis' Amoris Laetitia. Burke and a few other Cardinals have asked Pope Francis a series of questions which he has not yet answered. Without those answers, the Cardinals may issue their correction. The process, although rare, is a regular part of how the Church operates to protect its teaching office.

Cardinal Burke may issue a correction to Amoris Laetitia.

Cardinal Burke may issue a correction to Amoris Laetitia.

LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) -- When Pope Francis issued Amoris Laetitia, the document was widely praised as a reform. That praise also misunderstood the document, which was merely a calling for priests to emphasize a pastoral approach to dealing with the faithful, as opposed to a legalistic one.

It suggested that priests should approach people lovingly, instead of following a path that could be seen as confrontational, rather than pastoral. Pope Francis' concern has been that priests are speaking to the letter of Church law, and this is marginalizing some of the faithful when they should be embraced.

A question arose; how should a pastor approach a person who has divorced and remarried, and wishes to receive Communion in the Church?

Many pastors concluded this would be a sin because the first marriage is the only one that can be formally recognized, at least until the Church grants an annulment, which itself requires a just cause.

Some have seen Pope Francis' words as a virtual "well, it depends..." to the question. But is this the final answer? Or is the answer that pastors are to turn a blind eye to the issue?

This is why Cardinal Burke and a few of his colleagues are asking a series of questions, formally called "dubia" of the Pope. The inquisitive Cardinals are Raymond Burke, Carlo Caffarra, Walter BrandmĂĽller and Joachim Meisner.

The dubia is a formal process, although it is rarely used. In fact, it hasn't been used in about 800 years. But anyone interpreting it as a schism, a scandal, or an error is spreading misinformation. The Church allows healthy debate on questions. Popes are fallible men, who can make mistakes. Papal infallibility, only applies in specific, rare circumstances.

Debate and discussion are a part of how the Church is supposed to operate. In fact, an absence of debate and discussion is a sign of a sick institution, not the other way around.

Nobody is suggesting the Pope is wrong either. It's simply that his words need clarification for those who are uncertain of the meaning of certain turns of phrase. It has been suggested that some of the Pope's words are ambiguous to readers, which can also create problems.

For his part, Pope Francis has declined to answer the questions put to him by the Cardinals. We can only speculate why. It is possible he would like to hear their opinion on the matter. Or, perhaps he disagrees with their questioning. Pope Francis has not issued a statement on the dubia; he has only declined to answer at this time.

If the correction comes, it will be published in early 2017, probably in January, and at least before Lent.

Cardinal Burke made it clear that Catholics should not worry themselves about the Church. He said, "I just encourage the faithful not to become discouraged, not to let themselves in some way be intimidated by these kind of statements, for they know Our Lord in His Church, and they have good spiritual guides to keep them close to Our Lord."

Our Church is protected by the promise of Christ, "the gates of Hell will not prevail against it." This is where we should put our faith. Let us continue to pray for the Pope, our Cardinals, and those who serve God by faithfully serving us.


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