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Mexican, Italian cardinals deny signing letter to Pope on Synod

October 14, 2015

Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera of Mexico City has denied a report in the Jesuit periodical America that he signed a letter to Pope Francis expressing serious concerns about the Synod of Bishops’ working document and procedures.

The Italian Cardinal Elio Sgreccia, who was listed by America as one of the signatories, also said that he had not signed the letter. 

“I would like to clarify that I never signed the alleged letter with the attributed content that some mention,” the prelate said in a statement that was tweeted by Father Manuel Dorantes of the Holy See Press Office. “At the same time I recognize that the appropriate place of discussion is with other Synod Fathers under the guide of the Pope who is our guarantor of unity in the Church and who has my utmost respect and loyalty.”

Gerald O’Connell, who reported on the letter for America, asked in a subsequent dispatch, “Does this constitute a total denial, or is it a denial in relation to the text of the letter published in some quarters?”

O’Connell’s article followed one written by journalist Sandro Magister, who reported on the text and listed 13 signatories, four of whom subsequently denied signing the letter. In a follow-up article, Magister, referring to himself, said that his article was “partly erroneous through the author’s unjustifiable inaccuracy in verifying it before publication.”

Venezuelan Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino confirmed that he signed the letter but called it a “storm in a teacup.” Cardinals George Pell, Timothy Dolan, and Wilfried Napier have also acknowledged that they signed a letter to the Pontiff, although Cardinal Pell said that the message as published by Magister was not the precise text of the actual letter. 

Confirming the essential accuracy of the text of the letter, as originally published by Magister-- with the exception of a reference to Protestantism-- Cardinal Urosa told The National Catholic Register that “many cardinals” had copies and could have leaked the letter. 


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