Why Is the Pope Silent about the Dubia?
Claudio Pierantoni from Chile, wondered about the reason for the Pope’s silence since he received the dubia on September 19, 2016.
During the international conference that was held in Rome on April 22, 2017, on the theme “Bringing Clarity” with regard to the dubia presented to Pope Francis concerning Amoris laetitia (see DICI no. 353 dated April 14, 2017), one of the speakers, Claudio Pierantoni from Chile, wondered, at the conclusion of his talk, about the reason for the Pope’s silence since he received these dubia on September 19, 2016.
What is obvious in the current situation is precisely the basic doctrinal distortion which, even though it cleverly avoids any directly heterodox formula, nevertheless consistently maneuvers so as to attack not only some dogmas in particular such as the indissolubility of marriage and the objectivity of the moral law, but also the very idea of sure doctrine and, with it, the very person of Christ as Logos (Word of God). And the Pope himself is the first victim of this doctrinal distortion, even though—and this is a hypothesis on my part—he is not very aware of it, and he is the victim of a general historical alienation that affects large sectors of theological teaching.
In this situation the dubia, these five questions presented by four cardinals, put the Pope in an impasse. If he answered by denying the Tradition and the Magisterium of his predecessors, he would be formally considered heretical, and therefore he cannot do that. If, instead, he answered in keeping with the previous Magisterium, he would contradict a considerable part of the main doctrinal actions that he has taken during his pontificate, and therefore that would be a very difficult decision. Therefore he chooses silence because humanly speaking the situation may seem hopeless. But meanwhile confusion and de facto schism are spreading in the Church.
In light of the preceding, an additional act of courage is necessary more than ever, an act of truth and charity on the part of the cardinals, but also of the bishops and of all competent laymen who might wish to take part in it. In such a serious situation of danger for the faith and of general scandal, frank fraternal correction addressed to Peter is not only licit but is also our duty, for his good and for that of the whole Church.
Fraternal correction is neither a hostile act nor a lack of respect, nor disobedience. It is nothing other than a statement of truth: caritas in veritate, charity in truth. The Pope is our brother, even before being Pope.
Further Speculation on the Pope’s Silence
In the January 9 issue of L’Homme Nouveau earlier this year, the French philosopher Thibaud Collin, who was also a speaker at the conference in Rome, posed the same question about the Pope’s silence.
What is the meaning of such an official silence? We can interpret it in two ways. The first, human way is to say that the Pope refuses to respond, because he considers the text of the Exhortation to be clear in itself. He commissioned Cardinal Schönborn to explain what Cardinal Kasper calls a “new paradigm,” that of the accompaniment of persons. It has yet to be explained how this new paradigm is connected with the old one. On this point the four cardinals asked for clarifications, which were denied them. The Pope nevertheless has responded indirectly by declaring to the newspaper Avvenire (November 18, 2016):
There are people who continue not to understand, who reason in terms of black and white, even though discernment must be practiced in the flow of life.”
And in a private letter (that was conveniently published) to the Bishops of Buenos Aires, he responds to their text:
The document is very good and explains perfectly the meaning of Chapter 8. There are no other interpretations.”
Finally, Cardinal Farrell, Prefect of the new dicastery for the Laity, the Family, and Life, publicly criticized his fellow-American Archbishop Chaput for his rigorist interpretation of the Exhortation.
The second interpretation is supernatural: it consists of saying that if the Pope does not respond officially but through private opinions or through mediators, it is because he cannot oppose the previous Magisterium and the Word of God head-on. Was it not Jesus Himself (Mt 19:3-12) who reminded the Pharisees, who were trapped in their casuistic paradigm, the normative character of the truth about marriage, as God instituted it “in the beginning”?
The Church’s doctrine, the explication of the Word of God, is therefore not abstract or disconnected from persons, as many “pastors” are so fond of repeating. The law of God is not an ideal, either, which becomes an intolerable burden for the faithful if we ask them to obey it. It is the source of life in the concrete circumstances of each person’s life. God always gives the grace to live out what He commands. Let us recall finally that the discernment that was so dear to Saint Ignatius can only be about good acts and never about intrinsically evil acts. There is no prudent way of being an adulterer.
Sources: L’Espresso, French translation by Diakonos /Homme Nouveau – FSSPX.News - 04/28/2017