A “Climate of Fear” in the Vatican?

January-February 2017

Several independent reports out of Rome paint a troubling picture of the working situation at “headquarters.” Indications are that the Eternal City is on edge. And in the midst of the palpable sense of unease, anxiety, and, yes, even fear, one man looms large. That man is Pope Francis.

Much, though not all, of the distress radiates from a remarkable development: Four high-ranking prelates have publicly challenged the Pope over Amoris Laetitia, his murky and verbose apostolic exhortation in which he seems to suggest that divorced and civilly remarried Catholics can be admitted to Holy Communion. On November 14 cardinals Raymond Burke of the U.S., Carlo Caffarra of Italy, and Walter Brandmüller and Joachim Meisner of Germany made public a dubia, a set of five short yes-or-no questions addressed to Pope Francis about passages in Amoris Laetitia that, they say, have caused “uncertainty, confusion, and disorientation among many of the faithful.”

The cardinals decided to go public with the dubia after submitting it to Francis privately in September — and then waiting two months for a reply that never came. The dubia calls on the Pope, “with profound respect,” to “dispel ambiguity” and “resolve the uncertainties and bring clarity.”

So far, not only has Francis refused to respond privately to the cardinals’ request, he has also refused to respond publicly. In fact, he’s made only one public comment about the dubia. In an interview in Avvenire, an Italian Catholic magazine (Nov. 18), Francis referred obliquely to “a certain legalism” that wants to see everything as “black and white,” and he wondered aloud whether such criticism doesn’t come “from an evil spirit” or “the desire to hide one’s own dissatisfaction under armor.” Yes, you read that correctly: Francis actually suggested that the men who asked him to make specific some of his (intentionally?) ambiguous ramblings might be under the influence of demons!


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New Oxford Notes: January-February 2017

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Rather than acting as though the Rock of Peter upon which Christ built his church, Francis acts like a pebble in the shoe of the fisherman. Posted by: j17ghs
February 06, 2017 07:37 PM EST
when I taught high school, if a student asked any question (even remotely related to the topic at hand) I took it seriously and immediately tried another way to answer it as I felt that I had not communicated fully to that person and that there were likely others who were reluctant to ask. I would never postpone answering it for several months. Posted by: pescher
March 02, 2017 11:19 AM EST
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