The Church Cannot Allow Any Confusion
Dear [*****] and brothers and sisters in Christ of the Support Cardinal Pell group,
First of all, let me thank you for your prayers and messages of support. These bring immense consolation, humanly and spiritually.
A word of explanation. I have received between 1500-2000 letters and all will be answered. So far, I have only responded to letters from my fellow prisoners (to nearly all of those who wrote) and a few other special cases. Your kindness is not forgotten and will always be fondly remembered.
My faith in Our Lord, like yours, is a source of strength. The knowledge that my small suffering can be used for good purposes through being joined to Jesus’ suffering gives me purpose and direction. Challenges and problems in Church life should be confronted in a similar spirit of faith.
We must always remember that the Church is one, not just in the sense that good families stick together whatever their differences, but because the Church of Christ is based in the Catholic Church, which constitutes the Body of Christ. One ancient saying teaches that there must be unity in essentials (Jesus’ essentials), while there can be diversity in non-essentials. But everywhere and in everything, we must have charity.
I agree that we have reason to be disturbed by the Instrumentum Laboris of the Amazonian Synod. This is not the first low-quality document the Synod secretariat has produced. Cardinal G. Muller, formerly of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has written an excellent critique. I am no expert on the region, but I have been to Iquitos in Amazonian Peru, where a Sydney priest, Fr John Anderson runs a parish of exemplary piety, pastoral activity and orthodoxy. As in the Amazon, a lot of water has yet to run before the Synod.
One point is fundamental. The Apostolic Tradition, the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles, taken from the New Testament and taught by Popes and Councils by the Magisterium, is the only criterion doctrinally for all teaching on doctrine and practice. Amazon or no Amazon, in every land, the Church cannot allow any confusion, much less any contrary teaching, to damage the Apostolic Tradition.
The Spirit continues to be with the Church. You have every right to make your voices heard, reasonably and in charity. We need not expect the worst.
Your grateful brother,
+ George Card. Pell
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