Vatican follies, continued

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Feb 15, 2017

First the Vatican calls a press conference to announce the publication of a book by Cardinal Coccopalmerio. With their ears to the rumor mill, journalists covering the Vatican report that this book will be a response to the dubia—thus the excitement.

But then Cardinal Coccopalmerio does not show up for the press conference, causing observers to wonder whether it’s really that important.

Nevertheless in his book the cardinal says that the Pope’s teaching in Amoris Laetitia is perfectly clear, which would seem to mean that there’s no ambiguity.

But the publisher of the book—the director of the Vatican press—says that regarding the interpretation of Amoris Laetitia, “the debate is still open.

To summarize: The book is the most authoritative statement to date on a vexed question, but the author doesn’t think it’s more important than his other appointments and the publisher doesn’t think it’s definitive. The book answers all possible questions, except that there can be no possible questions. The book closes the debate, except insofar as the debate remains wide open.

All clear now?

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: [email protected] - Feb. 18, 2017 12:18 AM ET USA

    This vexing ambiguity lays squarely on the shoulders of Pope Francis. He has created a monster which supports chaos. And you know who is the father of chaos. The Pope's pride is affecting his reason and the truth. Look what he has done to destroy the Knights of Malta. He needs a good dose of the humility he preaches.

  • Posted by: MatJohn - Feb. 18, 2017 12:00 AM ET USA

    Of course it's not complicated . All you have to do is engage in repetitive ambiguity.

  • Posted by: nix898049 - Feb. 15, 2017 1:34 PM ET USA

    I can only say thanks to Pope Francis for finally clarifying for me what kind of Catholic I am. Apparently I am a Restorationist. At least that's settled.

  • Posted by: Andrej - Feb. 15, 2017 12:46 PM ET USA

    What 'liberals' generally try to do: loudly introduce a rationalization for vice, while good people rebut the poor arguments publicly the licentious ones quickly change as much on the ground as they can using their sophistry as cover, and then just as quickly introduce the next outrageous breach of morality loudly in the public sphere. Even if they argued down eventually they still have all of their practical victories. I would not be surprised if married priests are introduced quickly by Frank.

  • Posted by: koinonia - Feb. 15, 2017 12:00 PM ET USA

    In the meantime the new pastoral "guidelines" are being sown into pastoral practice. Can Pandoras box be closed? Can there be a return to normalcy? The longer " the debate is still open", the more decidedly negative is the answer. So it's really not too complicated.