Cardinals say Church faces ‘grave danger’

What happened?

Two cardinals have helped to inspire a declaration of traditional doctrine in response to what they call “grave danger to the faith and unity of the Church”.Cardinals Walter Brandmüller and Raymond Burke, who signed the dubia addressed to Pope Francis, were present as the statement was issued. The statement affirms the indissolubility of marriage and the doctrine that the divorced and remarried, if living in a sexual relationship, cannot receive Communion.

What conference speakers said

Cardinal Burke emphasised the limits of papal authority, saying: “Any expression of doctrine or practice that is not in conformity with divine revelation, contained in the sacred Scriptures and tradition of the Church, cannot be an authentic exercise of the apostolic and Petrine ministry and must be rejected by the faithful.”

Another speaker, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, surveyed the history of the papacy. “Through the inscrutable permission of divine providence,” he argued, Satan’s attacks “have in rare cases had the effect of a temporary and limited eclipse of the papal magisterium, when some Roman pontiffs have made ambiguous doctrinal statements, thereby causing a temporary situation of doctrinal confusion in the life of the Church”.

What the commentators said

At Crux, John Allen said that the conference participants were “clearly convinced that their stand is both correct and necessary. However, they do seem to want the Pope to at least acknowledge their case, and it’s worth asking, if only from a purely political point of view, whether what one saw on Saturday appears likely to accomplish that.” On the whole, Allen wrote, it was uncertain. “Time will tell, but early returns don’t make that seem a foregone conclusion.”

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