Once upon a time there was a Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation that caused a lot of head scratching. And so some Cardinals got together, four in all, and asked the writer of the Exhortation – or rather the Pope whose signature was on it – a few questions, five in all. They were, you see, scratching their heads.
The Pope didn’t answer their questions, and that made a lot of other people scratch their heads. There was a lot of head scratching.
Then two of the Cardinals died. It would be wrong to read into that “then” that they died because the Pope didn’t answer the questions. That would be a post hoc ergo propter hoc mistake. They died, because, well, they were old and their time was up.
Two Live Dubia Cardinals™ remain.
Today I read that during His Holiness told Reuters:
In 2016, [Card.] Burke and three other cardinals issued a rare public challenge to Francis over some of his teachings in a major document on the family, accusing him of sowing disorientation and confusion on important moral issues.
Francis said he had heard about the cardinals’ letter criticizing him “from the newspapers … a way of doing things that is, let’s say, not ecclesial, but we all make mistakes”.
He borrowed the analogy of a late Italian cardinal who likened the Church to a flowing river, with room for different views. “We have to be respectful and tolerant, and if someone is in the river, let’s move forward,” he said.
“If someone is in the river”…. I think this is something like, “The Church is a big tent. You might be under that end of the tent or under this end, but either way you are still in the tent.”
On the other hand, at LifeSite we find a piece which checked in with one of the Four Cardinals of the Five Dubia, Live Dubia Cardinal™ Burke.
Cardinal Burke, however, told LifeSiteNews that “The late Cardinal Carlo Caffarra personally delivered the letter containing the dubia to the Papal Residence, and at the same time to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on September 19, 2016, as he also delivered subsequent correspondence of the four Cardinals regarding the dubia.”
Burke added that, “During the entire time since the presentation of the dubia, there has never been a question about the fact that they were presented to the Holy Father, according to the practice of the Church and with full respect for his office.”
Cardinal Burke suggested that perhaps the Pope misunderstood the reporter’s question. “If the question of the journalist is referring to the formal presentation of the dubia or questions regarding Amoris Laetitia by Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, the late Cardinals Carlo Caffarra and Joachim Meisner, and myself, then Pope Francis must not have understood him,” he said.
Hence, there is room within the comments of the Holy Father that allows for a simply misunderstanding, rather than a darker possibility.
The other Live Dubia Cardinal™ Brandmuller: “It is very clear that we wrote directly to the Pope and at the same time to the Congregation for the Faith. What should be left that is unclear here?”
What is unclear is whether there will ever be a response to the Five Dubia of the Four Cardinals. It has been some 640 days since they were submitted… and received.