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Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
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Council of Cardinals gives Pope Francis a vote of confidence

February 13, 2017

The Council of Cardinals has relased a statement pledging “its full support for the Pope’s work,” in a highly unusual expression of confidence in the Roman Pontiff.

The statement, issued by the Vatican press office without explanation, also voiced the Council’s “adhesion and loyalty to the figure of the Pope and to his Magisterium.”

The release of a public vote of confidence in the Holy Father confirms the existence of serious tensions among Church leaders; such a statement would be wholly unnecessary if there were not major concerns about the direction of papal teaching.

The statement came as the Council of Cardinals—the group named by Pope Francis to assist him in planning Vatican reforms—began its 18th session, which will continue through February 15.

The statement does not directly address the most controversial aspect of the teaching of Pope Francis: the heated debate over the interpretation of Amoris Laetitia. Instead the statement pays homage to the figure of the Pope and to his Magisterium—leaving open the question of whether Amoris Laetitia has introduced a change in magisterial teaching.

The Council statement opens with a report that Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, the chairman of the group, thanked the Pope in particular for his December address to the Roman Curia. In that speech the Pope denounced “malicious resistance” to his program for reform in the Church.


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Show 8 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Jason C. - Feb. 13, 2017 10:14 PM ET USA

    That papolaters still exist in this pontificate is a testament to the man's charisma.

  • Posted by: MAG - Feb. 13, 2017 9:32 PM ET USA

    Meanwhile, Pravda reports that the Supreme Soviet has confirmed its support of Comrade Stalin...

  • Posted by: DanS - Feb. 13, 2017 8:50 PM ET USA

    This strikes me as a serious expression of weakness, even desperation. Could anyone imagine such a statement during the papacies of JPII or Benedict XVI?! It would have been as absurd as unnecessary. Yet, Pope Francis's most trusted allies must judge his credibility so weak that they're compelled to affirm it as a group?!? Within the broader College, the opposition to the Pope's "pastoral" approach must be wide-spread and deep! This is a crisis of the Pope's own making, dare I say, of his pride.

  • Posted by: Ken - Feb. 13, 2017 6:30 PM ET USA

    The fact that this statement was released at all speaks volumes. So sad.

  • Posted by: shrink - Feb. 13, 2017 5:42 PM ET USA

    This is the kind of PR that we expect from dictatorships… good grief.

  • Posted by: Jerome - Feb. 13, 2017 3:35 PM ET USA

    So... what does this mean really? Why do I get the feeling this accelerating to the point where a new ecumenical council may be required? A real one this time. A doctrinal/dogmatic one and not just a "pastoral" one.

  • Posted by: feedback - Feb. 13, 2017 2:13 PM ET USA

    As Catholics, we hold these truths to be self-evident, that each Pope is the successor of St. Peter and the Vicar of Christ. Our loyalty to the Pope is founded exclusively on our loyalty to Jesus Christ and His Gospel. No Pope can create and preach "his" own Magisterium, but only that of Christ and of his Church.

  • Posted by: ALC - Feb. 13, 2017 1:06 PM ET USA

    So, how much meaning does this really have since it came from a group of Cardinals that are the Pope's hand picked advisors? Really, it means nothing. It's just the employees buttering up the boss.