Group issues what it calls 'filial correction' of pope's teaching

By Cindy Wooden

CITY (CNS) — Several dozen priests, scholars and writers have published what
they described as a “filial correction” of some of Pope Francis’
teachings about
marriage — particularly about access to the sacraments for divorced and
civilly remarried Catholics.

best-known name among the signatories is Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the traditionalist
Priestly Society of St. Pius X, a group still involved in talks with the Vatican
aimed at regularizing its status within the Catholic Church.

letter originally was signed by 40 people and delivered to Pope Francis in
August; the writers said they did not receive a response, so they released it
publicly Sept. 24, launching a website as well:

Vatican press office had no comment about the letter.

U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, former
head of the Vatican’s top court, and German Cardinal Walter Brandmuller, former president of the
Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, did not sign the letter. Along
with two other cardinals who are now deceased, they publicly released in
September 2016 a critical set of questions, known as “dubia,” that
they had sent to Pope Francis about his teaching on the family.

recently as August, Cardinal Burke spoke in an interview about issuing a
“formal correction” of Pope Francis if he refused to respond to the
“dubia.” The correction, he said, would be a declaration of church
teaching, rather than a set of questions.

new letter accuses Pope Francis of “the propagation of heresies effected
by the apostolic exhortation ‘Amoris
Laetitia’ and by other words, deeds and omissions of Your

Laetitia” (“The Joy of Love”) is the document Pope Francis
released in 2016
reflecting on the discussions and conclusions of the meetings in 2014 and 2015
of the Synod of Bishops on the family.

the document, Pope
Francis affirmed church teaching that the sacrament of marriage is the bond of
one man and one woman united for life and open to having children.

the document also encouraged parishes and priests to reach out to couples whose
marriages have failed, reminding them that they have not been excommunicated.

“Amoris Laetitia,” Pope Francis asked pastors: to accompany those who
have remarried civilly; to check if their sacramental marriage was valid or if
they could receive a decree of nullity; and to lead them in a process of
discernment about their responsibility for the breakup and about their current
situation in light of church teaching. The document seemed to open the
possibility — in certain cases and after the discernment process — of
allowing them to receive absolution and Communion even without promising to
abstain from sexual relations with their new partner.

“filial correction” lists what its authors see as seven “false
and heretical propositions” in “Amoris Laetitia,” including: a
belief that God’s grace does not give a believer the strength to meet “the
objective demands of divine law”; that divorced and civilly remarried persons “are
not necessarily in a state of mortal sin”; that a person can break divine law and not be in
a state of sin; that a person can decide in good conscience that sexual
relations are morally permissible or even good with someone other than the
person they married sacramentally; and that “our Lord Jesus Christ wills
that the church abandon her perennial discipline of refusing the Eucharist to
the divorced and remarried.”

letter asked the pope to publicly reject the seven propositions.

– – –

Copyright © 2017 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at

Original Article