What the 4 Cardinals should have said in their Letter to the Pope

Four Cardinals made public a formerly-private letter the Pope Francis. The letter contains 5 Dubia (“doubts”) asking querulous questions on Amoris Laetitia.

Here’s what they should have said (instead of what they actually said) —

1. The Church is indefectible. She can never go astray or lead anyone astray.

2. Peter and his successors are the Rock on which the Church is founded.

3. Each Roman Pontiff has the gift of truth and never-failing faith, divinely-conferred for the salvation of all.

4. Therefore, the Roman Pontiff can never teach heresy, and can never commit apostasy, heresy, or schism.

5. Any Roman Pontiff can possibly err in his personal opinions and decisions on discipline.

6. Any Roman Pontiff can possibly err, to a limited extent, in his non-infallible teachings.

7. Pope Francis is the current valid Roman Pontiff of the one true Church.

8. We think that Amoris Laetitia contains a few limited errors, but we perhaps we have misunderstood.

You might think that what the Cardinals actually did say in their letter and dubia was not so bad. But I see it as one major step toward the conservative schism.

Please keep me in your prayers. I am still suffering a great deal from back pain.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

Please take a look at this list of my books and booklets, and see if any topic interests you.

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6 Responses to What the 4 Cardinals should have said in their Letter to the Pope

  1. Jack Gallagher says:

    Amoris is an exhortation containing none of the earmarks of His Holiness speaking infallibly. As well, it is one thing to err to a limited extent – that is still error – but quite another to make a limited error, which implies not really error (because of the qualifier preceding the phrase).

    The important part is not truly trying to resolve a dispute of opinions on whether His Holiness erred in chapter VIII of Amoris. The important part is the fruit it has borne. That fruit consists of (1) a “Directive” to clergy in Buenos Aires that asserts Amoris chapter VIII says “A” (where”A” is a sharp deviation from 2,000 years of actual Infallible teaching); (2) a letter from a Buenos Aires Monsignor to His Holiness asking for clarification about the Directive; (3) a letter from His Holiness back to the Monsignor saying the Directive perfectly interprets chapter VIII of Amoris; (4) the Dubia letter from the four Cardinals to His Holiness asking what are eminently reasonable questions, given the first three fruits; (5) the refusal of His Holiness to respond to the Cardinals in any sincere fashion – which cannot help but raise an eyebrow, given His Holiness took the time to respond to the Monsignor.

    The fruit is what’s important. It is not good fruit. Confusion has been sewn. The Cardinals neither produced the seeds of confusion nor spread those seeds into the earth. His Holiness did that, prior to the publication of the Dubia. His Holiness can persist in choosing to refuse to reply sincerely to the Cardinals, but a refusal to reply is a reply just the same. And in this case, His Holiness’ silence does not signify agreement with the Cardinals – it implies confirmation of his agreement with the Buenos Aires Bishops’ Directive.

    The impossibility of teaching heresy or committing apostasy, heresy or schism relates to the office of the Roman Pontiff, not the man.

    • Ron Conte says:

      On your last point, the Rock on which the Church is founded is the person of Peter, not merely his office. Committing apostasy, heresy, or schism is of the person. Also, the First Vatican Council taught that the Pope has a never-failing faith, and faith is of the person. So the impossibility of heresy is of the person and the office.

      The Cardinals and various online commentators all assume that their understanding can’t err. They also speak about the Supreme Pontiff as if he were beneath them. And they exaggerate his errors and the meaning of his refusal to reply. I consider their attitude to be the beginning of the schism. But it will be several months, I think, before we see the fruits of their pride-filled attitude.

    • missy681 says:

      I agree that confusion is being sown. As my dad has said all my life, “sometimes you just gotta hold your nose, do what’s right, and hope for the best.” One comforting thing I’ve read is that the Holy Spirit may be preventing the pope from answering BECAUSE he is protected from being a heretic, so it will be impossible for him to answer. We’re being told that we have to read AL in light of 2000 years of history/teaching, but that seems to be causing much confusion among most Catholics, especially the ones who seem to enjoy being Catholic Lite. I suppose it’s easy to say, when you’re confident in your faith, which actually is in light of 2000 years of teaching, “this is really what he means” but in reality, most of the Catholic-Lite type Catholics don’t want mortal sins to be sins at all. It gets tiring hearing about how “conservatives” are the ones filled with pride, when all we want is something simple — if you’re divorced, remarried, and don’t have an annulment, receiving Holy Eucharist is a mortal sin. I don’t see how or why there’s wiggle room with that, but many people think there is. And it seems to be causing a scandal. I don’t think that’s a schismatic stance on the situation.

  2. Francisco says:

    Jesus did not speak with every detail all the time, He often times spoke in parables, and also said “Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear”. I think that, with the no response so far, Pope Francis is saying regarding Amoris Laetitia “Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear”. Bottom line, everyone in state of grace is in union with God and we shall not oversimplify and/or judge every case with a set of rules, for every case is complex and different from the other.

    {11:25} At that time, Jesus responded and said: “I acknowledge you, Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the prudent, and have revealed them to little ones.

    {13:14} And so, in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, who said, ‘Hearing, you shall hear, but not understand; and seeing, you shall see, but not perceive.
    {13:15} For the heart of this people has grown fat, and with their ears they hear heavily, and they have closed their eyes, lest at any time they might see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and be converted, and then I would heal them.’
    {13:16} But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear.

  3. Alex says:

    I haven’t read amoris and won’t do it. Not because it is not worth but because I cannot spend that time. However, I respect pope Francis for his desire to change things in the ancient Christian church structure. His efforts fail on deaf ears and are doomed to fail at the current pace. Much more is needed, much bolder steps. Far not only should the divorced and gay people receive holy communion. Much was said about that and it is not me to decide. It is pity the hierarchy didn’t find strenght to support the reformer once it elected him. He is a voice in a desert criticised from all sides. His days are not forever. Soon we may face situation quite different from now. I am not prophet but everyone of us knows Malachi list of popes and Fatima. It is a shame for the institution that organised every 6th citizen on the planet, to play dirty games like that. Where are all those people who not only elected the pope but also said they would support him in his course of change? Precious time was lost discussing the above question of people banned from communion. Where is the change in the other areas that concern millions of poor, far not only in the third world? Where is the light in the tunnel the world we are living in goes to better? Or we are not told the truth fed up with surrogates instead… Days are counted and clock is ticking. One may want to ask himself, should one count on a leadership like that for survivor in increasingly odd world situation, if they keep preferring their own narrow interests before the interests of the billion wide flock and those of the rest of humanity.

  4. mal says:

    Back pain.
    Been there.
    St. Gemma Galgani.

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