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Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez - Synod Does Not Have Doctrinal Authority

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Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez, the archbishop emeritus of Guadalajara, Mexico, and one of the five signatories of the recent dubia sent to Pope Francis, sheds light on the nature of synods and their doctrinal authority. In a candid interview, the 90-year-old cardinal emphasized that "a synod does not have doctrinal authority," raising concerns about the potential implications of granting it such authority.

Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez

Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
10/12/2023 (8 months ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez, Dubia, Catholic Church, Synod on Synodality, Doctrinal Concerns, Pope Francis, Catholic Doctrine

The term "dubia" refers to questions seeking clarification, and the cardinal clarified that true doctrinal authority resides in the pope or the worldwide episcopate, collectively with the pope. Synods, he emphasized, possess only pastoral competencies and are tasked with the best application of the Gospel to the faithful in pastoral care, lacking doctrinal authority.

Cardinal Sandoval, alongside Cardinals Robert Sarah, Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, Raymond Leo Burke, and Walter BrandmĂĽller, signed the dubia on July 10, and then again on August 23. These dubia addressed a range of concerns, including the reinterpretation of divine revelation, blessings for homosexual partners, and the concept of synodality as a "constitutive dimension of the Church." They also inquired about the possibility of priestly ordination for women and whether repentance is necessary for sacramental absolution in confession.

The questions were originally sent to Pope Francis on July 10, with responses received the following day. Unhappy with the answers, the cardinals restated their questions on August 23, and as of October 2, these queries remain unanswered. Frustrated with the lack of response, the cardinals made their questions public just two days before the Synod on Synodality commenced.

In the interview, Cardinal Sandoval explained the motivations behind signing the dubia. He cited imprecise expressions in the synod discussions that could lead to erroneous interpretations of critical issues. The cardinals' aim was to safeguard the truth and provide clear guidance for those participating in the synod with goodwill. He noted that Pope Francis's initial responses to the dubia were perceived as evasive and vague, leading to a rephrasing of the questions for greater clarity and force. This move was aimed at eliciting direct yes-or-no answers from the Holy Father.

Addressing concerns about doctrinal debates within the Church, Cardinal Sandoval emphasized that such discussions have always existed and will continue as long as the Church endures. He urged Catholics to adhere to the simplicity of Gospel truth, based on Scripture and the Church's longstanding teachings, to avoid confusion.

Cardinal Sandoval expressed concern that the Synod on Synodality might deviate from doctrine, which he finds deeply troubling. He acknowledged that throughout history, the Church has encountered situations where meetings, synods, and councils had doctrinal discrepancies. He stressed the importance of adhering to essential truths of faith, even when accommodating modern trends and personal preferences, as such compromises can distort the truth.

In response to criticisms from other cardinals, particularly Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, Cardinal Sandoval defended the dubia signatories' intentions, emphasizing that they sought clarification for the sake of the Church and the truth. He reiterated that cardinals, as advisors to the pope, collaborate in dialogue to address crucial matters of faith and morals, ensuring the Church's well-being.

Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez was born on March 28, 1933, in Yahualica, Mexico. He was ordained a priest in 1957 and later obtained a doctorate in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. His ecclesiastical journey led to his appointment as coadjutor bishop of the Diocese of Ciudad Juárez in 1988, and he became its bishop in 1992. In 1994, he was appointed archbishop of Guadalajara, a position he held for 17 years until his resignation in 2011 due to the age limit. He now resides in Guadalajara.

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