Catholic World News

Four cardinals could be stripped of status for questioning papal document, says Vatican official

November 29, 2016

The dean of the Roman Rota has said that Pope Francis, if he wanted, could remove four prelates from the College of Cardinals as punishment for submitting and publicizing their dubia about Amoris Laetitia.

Msgr. Pio Vito Pinto, the dean of the Church’s highest appeals court, did not suggest that Pope Francis would take disciplinary action against the four cardinals, but said that the Pontiff does have the authority to strip a cardinal of that rank.

Msgr. Pinto said that the Cardinals Raymond Burke, Walter Brandmüller, Carlo Caffarra, and Joachim Meisner could be charged with causing “grave scandal” by questioning the interpretation of the papal document. He said that questions about the apostolic exhortation are inappropriate because the document reflects the work of the Synod of Bishops. “The action of the Holy Spirit cannot be doubted,” he insisted.

Speaking at a conference in Spain, Msgr. Pinto said that although Pope Francis had not responded to the four cardinals’ questions, he had answered them indirectly by saying that “they only see white or black, when there are shades of color in the Church.”

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  • Posted by: vjenkins78814 - Dec. 01, 2016 12:37 PM ET USA

    How about the people in the pews who hold the same position is these brave cardinals? Are they to be threatened too?

  • Posted by: ILM - Nov. 30, 2016 2:19 PM ET USA

    Joseph Sobran once said: "The attempt to silence a man is the greatest honor you can bestow on him. It means that you recognize his superiority to yourself".

  • Posted by: bernie4871 - Nov. 30, 2016 12:46 PM ET USA

    Where is Cardinal Mueller, the head of the Cong. for the Doctrine of the Faith? Have not heard a word since Sept 2015. Then,speaking about evangelization in Germany, Mueller specifically spoke of the problem when he identified allowing "remarried" Catholics to receive the Eucharist, as well as accepting a redefinition of marriage, as challenges to overcome.

  • Posted by: bernie4871 - Nov. 30, 2016 12:30 PM ET USA

    It seems to me that there has been a 500 year recognizable reenactment by His Church of the passion of Christ. It is precisely on time. He was on trial for 50 years since the Council; He has since been beaten by some Germany Bishops; He is now crowned with thorns by their seemingly impossibly ignorant American counterparts; The Pope himself seems poised to nail Him to the Cross. But He will not die, now or ever again. He has risen and will die no more. Believe and pray. We live on the edge.

  • Posted by: feedback - Nov. 30, 2016 10:57 AM ET USA

    The dean of the Roman Rota should be stripped of his position for suggesting this kind of punishment for asking simple questions.

  • Posted by: MWCooney01 - Nov. 30, 2016 10:26 AM ET USA

    The scandal is real, but it is caused by this Pope and his minions. The smoke of Satan wafts strong, and I pray that Christ snuffs it out before more souls are put in jeopardy. But the Church survived the Borgia popes, and it will survive Francis--This I believe; Lord, help my disbelief!

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Nov. 30, 2016 7:54 AM ET USA

    Something tells me that if the exhortation was more strict, the archbishop here would be questioning it, and not claiming it to be magisterial.

  • Posted by: Faustina01 - Nov. 29, 2016 10:09 PM ET USA

    Hmmmm.....is everyone else thinking SCHISM??!!

  • Posted by: MatJohn - Nov. 29, 2016 8:54 PM ET USA

    The smoke of Satan lingers.

  • Posted by: williamseifert3234 - Nov. 29, 2016 8:25 PM ET USA

    Well, back in the 4th & 5th centuries, when Arianism was the rage, we ended up in a schism. 13th-14th Century we did it again. There may be schism yet! The question as to which "side" is the right side...St. Joan of Arc 's plight comes to mind. "Creeping Infallibility" seems to be at play and Abp. Pio Vito Pinto's statement is reprehensible (regrettable too). These 4 Archbishops are hardly children to be threatened with penalties because they hold to an Orthodox high-road.

  • Posted by: Biscjim - Nov. 29, 2016 8:05 PM ET USA

    One more thing, Archbishop Pinto's claims that questions about the apostolic exhortation are inappropriate because the document reflects the work of the Synod of Bishops and “The action of the Holy Spirit cannot be doubted,” is just plain wrong. It makes one wonder about the quality of canon lawyers that Pope Francis is hiring! This is not even taking into consideration that Amores Laetitia was most probably fundamentally written long before the synod ended. Work of the synod, hardly!

  • Posted by: Biscjim - Nov. 29, 2016 7:56 PM ET USA

    Archbishop Pinto is the one here who is causing scandal. His position is so outrageous as to be laughable. How can these four cardinals, who just want to create clarity and preserve orthodox doctrine cause scandal while the so called "progressives" have been running roughshod over the Church for years without a hint scandal.

  • Posted by: Biscjim - Nov. 29, 2016 7:56 PM ET USA

    Archbishop Pinto is the one here who is causing scandal. His position is so outrageous as to be laughable. How can these four cardinals, who just want to create clarity and preserve orthodox doctrine cause scandal while the so called "progressives" have been running roughshod over the Church for years without a hint scandal.

  • Posted by: jalsardl5053 - Nov. 29, 2016 7:48 PM ET USA

    UNnicely veiled threat which can be seen as heading off any others who might wish to join. It's so tough not to be negative in the face of bullheaded rigidness so, tell ya what good Archbishop - do that and we'll be a lot further down the schism road that you can possibly imagine as you are right: The action of the Holy Spirit cannot be doubted. Boy, does this reflect the times in virtually all areas.

  • Posted by: dover beachcomber - Nov. 29, 2016 7:31 PM ET USA

    "They see only white and black, when there are shades of color in the Church". Well, THAT sure clears everything up. Thanks, Archbishop!

  • Posted by: [email protected] - Nov. 29, 2016 7:21 PM ET USA

    Well learned task of liberal left. Threats are best when you can't answer the questions. The Pope is guilty of scandal he is creating around the world and Church as a whole. It is time he was called out on this erroneous leadership or will he act like a South American dictator. God help His Church.

  • Posted by: mhains8491 - Nov. 29, 2016 6:49 PM ET USA

    Petty name calling and threats are now becoming a hallmark of this Papacy.

  • Posted by: Frodo1945 - Nov. 29, 2016 5:07 PM ET USA

    Somehow I think that this threat is of no consequence to the four Cardinals!

  • Posted by: lak321 - Nov. 29, 2016 12:32 PM ET USA

    i have read elsewhere that the document is NOT the results of the Synod but that the Synod results was circumvented. So which is it?