Cardinal Gerhard Müller Exposes a Crisis in Church Teaching

Cardinal Victor Manuel Fernández’s response to ten dubia from Cardinal Dominik Duka, Archbishop Emeritus of Pragues, seems to require the faithful to embrace teachings contrary to Catholic doctrine.

In July 2023, the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF) received ten dubia (formal questions) from Cardinal Dominik Duka, Archbishop Emeritus of Prague, on behalf of the Czech Bishops’ Conference, regarding the proper interpretation of Amoris laetitia on the question of eucharistic communion for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics.

On September 25, Cardinal Victor Manuel Fernández, the new prefect of the DDF, published in Italian his reply (hereafter Risposta) to the ten dubia. His Risposta confirms that Amoris laetitia, interpreted according to the will of Pope Francis, teaches that divorced persons who have entered into a second civil union, who do not refrain from sexual intercourse with their new partners, sometimes may be allowed access to the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. This was confirmed, Fernández says, when Francis replied favorably to a letter in September 2016 by the bishops of the Buenos Aires region to their priests setting forth that precise interpretation.

Francis responded enthusiastically to the Argentine bishops’ letter with his own letter of approval, privately addressed but made public at the time, stating, “The text is very good and thoroughly explains the sense of chapter VIII of ‘Amoris laetitia.’ There are no other interpretations. And I am sure it will do much good.” Recognizing that the authoritative status for the whole Church of this private letter might be questioned, Francis reprinted both letters in October 2016 in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis (AAS), the official organ of the Holy See, accompanied by a “rescriptum” that apparently elevated them to the status of magisterial documents. This brief history is rehearsed in Fernández’s Risposta.

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