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Tuesday Conference

Theology e-magazine

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There have been divergent, conflicting interpretations in
regard to Chapter VIII of the apostolic exhortation Amoris
Laetitia (AL) among theologians and scholars. Tuesday
Conference reaches you with a write up on this thorny issue
which has become a bone of contention with the release of a
letter by 4 Cardinals asking Pope for clarifications. They write;
“Compelled in conscience by ou r pastor al
responsibility and desiring to implement synodality to which Your
Holiness urges us, ...we permit ourselves to ask you, Holy Father,
as supreme teacher of the faith, resolve the uncertainties and
bring clarity, benevolently giving a response to the dubia that we
attach the present letter”.
Our interest in publishing this issue : a) journalistic - to reach
and to respond to latest developments in the church, b)
theological -to understand and to engage in discussion to
know better. In doing this, neither we join nor we endorse

any side.

“Dubia” — the formal method by which theologians and
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prelates can seek clarifications on matters of Church
teaching from Rome.

Dubia were
written in
such a way
that they
can be

It was revealed that the four cardinals sent five questions,
called dubia (Latin for “doubts”), to the Holy Father and Cardinal
Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of
the Faith, on Sept. 19, along with an accompanying letter. The
letter of the four cardinals follows a varied reception and
interpretation of the apostolic exhortation within the Church.

simply with
a “yes” or

Each of
the dubia is
aimed at
on key parts
of the

“We have noted a grave disorientation and great confusion
of many faithful regarding extremely important matters for the
life of the Church”.

The Four Cardinals

“The Holy
Father has
decided not to

1. Carlo Caffarra, Archbishop emeritus of
respond. So we
2. Raymond Burke, patron of the Sovereign are informing
the entire
Military Order of Malta;
people our
3. Walter Brandmüller, president emeritus
of the Pontifical Committee for Historical
offering all of
4. Joachim Meisner, archbishop emeritus of
“We hope that no one will choose to interpret the matter according
to a “progressive/conservative” paradigm. That would be
completely off the mark”.

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History of Controversy...
 News broke out the mid-term report lacked a solid
foundation in Sacred Scripture and the Tradition of the

We hope
that no one
will judge
us unjustly,
of the Holy
Father and

devoid of

 Reports from few Cardinals that there was manipulation in
the running of the Synod, and in the writing of the final
report .

 prior to the 2015 Synod, over 790,000 Catholics signed a
“Filial Appeal” to Pope asking him to say “a clarifying word”
to dissipate the “widespread confusion” .

 13 cardinals were reported to have questioned Pope in a
letter about the process of the Synod. In the summer of
2016, 45 academics, including some prelates, wrote to
repudiate a list of erroneous propositions that can be drawn
from portions of Amoris Laetitia.

 On 29 August, 2016, many bishops, priests, and lay faithful
in signing a Declaration of Fidelity to the Church’s Teaching
on Marriage and to Her Uninterrupted Discipline.

The Controversial Amoris Laetitia (300–305).
 #301 It can no longer simply be said that all those in any “irregular” situation
are living in a state of mortal sin and are deprived of sanctifying grace. A
subject may in a concrete situation which does not allow him or her to act
differently and decide other­wise without further sin.

 #304 It is true that general rules set forth a good which can never be
disregarded, yet they cannot be applied absolutely for all particular situations.

 #305. A pastor cannot feel that it is enough simply to apply moral laws to those
living in “irregular” situations, as if they were stones to throw at people’s lives.

 It is possible that in an objective situation of sin – which may not be
subjectively culpable, or fully such – a person can be living in God’s grace, can
love and can also grow in the life of grace and charity, while receiving the
Church’s help to this end.

Supporters of the Document say:

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#303 Every effort

The criticism on AL from 4 cardinals received various
responses from the theologians. We share the feeling of
many who support the papal teaching. They argue;

should be made to

1. What is the purpose of this attack, after synod discussions

encourage the
development of an
formed and
guided by the
responsible and
discernment of

and document being published?
2. You cannot go on opposing a teaching of the church till
the Pope say ‘yes’ to your argument.

3. Does Pope’s intention in AL is wrongly interpreted?
4. The synodality of the document is under attack ?
5. The text is read out of the context, of the mind of synod, of
the nature pontificate of Francis.
6. The argument that this document is not magisterial is a
rash judgment on the topic.
7. Is this an attempt to counter Pope’s progressive teaching?

one’s pastor, and

The articles from 300-305 do not literally
contradict any traditional teachings of the

to encourage an

Church. Though there can be a few doubts

ever greater trust

from the wrong interpretations/biased
reading of the text.

in God’s grace.

About the Dubia
In nut shell the Dubia raises the following clarifications:

 whether there are now circumstances under which divorced and remarried
persons can receive communion,

 whether intrinsically evil acts exist,
 whether a person who habitually commits grave evil is in a state of “grave sin”,
 whether a grave sin can ever become a good choice because of circumstances or

 whether there are still "absolute moral norms" that prohibit Catholics from
taking certain acts,

 how the Pope understands Catholic teaching on the role of conscience in making
moral decisions.

Following are the Dubia ...

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It is asked whether, following the affirmations of AL (300-305), it has

now become possible to grant absolution in the sacrament of penance and thus to
admit to Communion a person who, while bound by a valid marital bond, lives
together with a different person more uxorio without fulfilling the conditions
provided for by Familiaris Consortio, 84, and subsequently reaffirmed
by Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, 34, and Sacramentum Caritatis, 29. Can the
expression “in certain cases” found in the exhortation AL be applied to divorced
persons who are in a new union and who continue to live more uxorio
(Living together as if they were husband and wife ) ?
An affirmative answer to the first dubium would mean the Church

teaches either

 that divorce doesn't dissolve the marriage bond, but persons who are not
married “can under certain circumstances legitimately engage in acts of sexual

 that divorce dissolves the marriage bond and that the divorced-and-remarried
“are legitimate spouses and their sexual acts are lawful marital acts”;
or that divorce does not dissolve the marriage bond,

 but “admitting persons to the Eucharist does not mean for the Church to
approve their public state of life.”

After AL(304), does one still need to

This raises the question of

regard as valid the teaching of John Paul
II’s Veritatis Splendor, 79, based on sacred
Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church,
on the existence of absolute moral
norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts and
that are binding without exceptions?

intrinsically evil acts, for which


“no discernment of circumstances
or intentions is necessary” to
“know that one must not do it,”
which was reaffirmed by JP II in
his encyclical , Veritatis splendor.

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Sexual relations are for marital love. They require the context of
marital love. Not only the divorced living in a new union need to
abstain, but also everyone who is not married.

After AL(301) is it still possible to affirm that a person who habitually lives in

contradiction to a commandment of God’s law, as for instance the one that
prohibits adultery (Mt19:3-9), finds him or herself in an objective situation of
grave habitual sin (Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, “Declaration,” June
24, 2000)?
They noted that AL could appear to contradict a 2000 declaration of the
Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, and also acknowledged that the distinction
made in AL between a subjective situation of mortal sin and the objective
situation of grave sin “is indeed well established” in Church teaching.


After the affirmations of A L (302) on “circumstances

which mitigate m or al r esponsibility,” does one still
need to regard as valid the teaching of John Paul II’s
encyclical Veritatis

Splendor, 81, based on sacred

Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, according to
which “circumstances or intentions can never transform an act
intrinsically evil by virtue of its object into an act ‘subjectively’
good or defensible as a choice”?
The fourth dubium was raised to discover whether AL agrees that an
intrinsically evil act can never “become excusable or even good … on account of
circumstances that mitigate personal responsibility,” given its stress on such
mitigating circumstances.

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5) After AL (303) does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John
Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 56, based on sacred Scripture and on
the Tradition of the Church, that excludes a creative interpretation of the role
of conscience and that emphasizes that conscience can never be authorized
to legitimate exceptions to absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically
evil acts by virtue of their object?
The fifth dubium asks if th e teach ing of Veritatis splendor which

“excludes a creative interpretation of the role of conscience ...their object” still need
be regarded as valid.

Response of Pope ...
Pope Francis is "boiling with rage"
over formal criticism of AL from four
cardinals, according to a Vatican insider.
Sources within Santa Marta say that the
Pope is not happy at all. In a new
interview with Avvenire, Pope Francis
of AL critics.
“Some, as with certain responses
to AL, persist in seeing only white or
black, w h en r ath er one ought to
discern in the flow of life," the pontiff
However, he denied being
bothered by this. The criticism is "not
making me lose any sleep" he
told Avvenire.

To Conclude we quote, Cardinal-designate Joseph Tobin “AL cannot simply
be reduced to a question of ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in a specific pastoral situation,” the American
prelate said. He added that “you are dealing with difficult pastoral situations. Just to
simply reduce it to a dubium, I think, is at best naive.” The discussions on the dubia
will make the document more clearer for those who think there are disorientations
and great confusions regarding few interpertations.
Editor: Tony Maliyekal VC

Published from Vincentian Vidyabhavan, Aluva.