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Cardinal Schönborn: Amoris Laetitia is easy to understand

July 14, 2017

Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna disputed the charge that his defense of Amoris Laetitia is not persuasive, during an address to an English audience.

Cardinal Schönborn said that he was surprised to learn that Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, had said that his interpretation of the papal document is “simply not convincing.” He responded by saying that Amoris Laetitia is a simple document to understand. In it, he said, Pope Francis is not changing Church teaching regarding marriage, but indicating that pastors must adapt that teaching to specific cases.

The Austrian cardinal went on to disagree with Cardinal Müller’s suggestion that the Pope should respond to the four cardinals who asked for clarification of Amoris Laetitia. Cardinal Schönborn said that cardinals are free to ask the Pope for an audience and to express concerns about a document, but they should not make their concerns public, nor should they try to force the Pope to respond. This, he said, is “absolutely inconvenient behavior.”


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Show 12 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: MWCooney - Jul. 17, 2017 9:20 AM ET USA

    What the Pope is trying to say in AL is very clear, as evidenced by the reaction to it of both those who are happy that now they can openly destroy Church tradition in their quest to conform to this world, and those who lament those same effects. That the text itself is ambiguous is key to Pope Francis' tactic in getting his message across. I pray to St. Joseph daily to protect the Church, and to help Pope Francis.

  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Jul. 15, 2017 11:07 PM ET USA

    In reference to Fr. tbartolomeo's comment, there are many opportunities for confusion among the 4,400+ words that occupy nn. 291-311 in AL. Given that thoughtful prelates (e.g., Bishop Schneider, Archbishop Chaput, et al.) and theologians (e.g., Grisez, Fr. Brian Harrison, Fr. Schall, et al.) have demonstrated the need for clarification, and given that we have a full 500 characters in which to explain ourselves, "verbatim" can be problematic. For example, does n. 297 condemn the dogma of hell?

  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Jul. 15, 2017 8:47 PM ET USA

    “No. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.” How inconvenient would it be to say that?

  • Posted by: feedback - Jul. 15, 2017 9:17 AM ET USA

    @tbartolomeo comment - Father, let me refer you to a September 19, 2016, letter to Pope Francis "Seeking Clarity: A Plea to Untie the Knots in Amoris Laetitia," signed by Cardinals Brandmüller, Burke, Caffarra and Meisner. The actual text can be easily found online if you search its title. Five questions in that letter address verbatim phrases in Chapter VIII of Amoris Laetitia which could be (and, unfortunately, sometimes are) understood in ways that contradict the Catholic Faith and morality.

  • Posted by: jackbene3651 - Jul. 15, 2017 5:00 AM ET USA

    "Inconvenient behavior" ?

  • Posted by: WBSM - Jul. 15, 2017 4:29 AM ET USA

    I think Schönborn, Müller, and Burke are wonderful cardinals. Müller has already stated the obvious regarding AL, which is that it has to be interpreted in line with previous teaching. In view of certain misinterpretations not in line with previous teaching (e.g. bishops of Malta), I think Burke and the other three are right to request clarification, but, and I agree here with Schönborn, it was a mistake to make it public. Ubi Petrus, ibi ecclesia; et portae inferi non praevalebunt adversum eam.

  • Posted by: Elan - Jul. 14, 2017 10:32 PM ET USA

    If it is so easy to understand, why is there such a wide range of interpretations by the bishops throughout the world. Maybe we can just ignore the document. After all, when is the last time a bishop was heard proclaiming the teaching and issuing directives for Humanae Vitae

  • Posted by: polish.pinecone4371 - Jul. 14, 2017 9:38 PM ET USA

    "Absolutely inconvenient behavior." Hmmm, sounds like some prophets we've heard about before and maybe even that guy who lived 2,000 years ago whose Name escapes me right now -- maybe His first Name begins with "J".

  • Posted by: tbartolomeo - Jul. 14, 2017 8:30 PM ET USA

    The comment posted here by "feedback" on behalf of "faithful Catholic Bishops, priests" does not include me, a faithful priest who has actually read Amoris Laetitia and did not find anything in the Exhortation which compromises Church teaching. Has this commentator and others read the document? Then they should have referenced specifically, verbatim, what they found troubling and explained themselves.

  • Posted by: feedback - Jul. 14, 2017 5:05 PM ET USA

    AL may be easy to understand but the easy understanding makes it impossible to accept for faithful Catholic Bishops, priests and laity. Hence the multitude of requests to clarification.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 14, 2017 4:40 PM ET USA

    The church needs to tell couples that they need to adapt to the church's teaching. Many couples have been willing to live as brother and sister rather than go against Christ's teaching because they believe what Christ taught.

  • Posted by: shrink - Jul. 14, 2017 3:50 PM ET USA

    You gotta love Cdl Schönborn. AL sets the stage for abrogating the 6th commandment (on adultery) and Cdl Schönborn gives the Alfred E Newman response "What! me worry? There's nothin to see here, folks." Let's call it theological "gaslighting," which is this pontificate's way of getting ordinarily pious people to question their own sanity.