Vatican Roundup

More prelates intervene in Amoris Laetitia row

The row centred on the Pope’s encyclical on the family, Amoris Laetitia, rumbles on. Following last week’s intervention by four cardinals seeking to question Pope Francis’ knowledge of Church teaching on the family, and the rebuke by the Pontiff and a subsequent invitation from Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago for the cardinals to “have conversion in their lives” regarding their doubts, a Polish and Greek prelate have stepped in on either side of the row.

In a newspaper interview, Poland’s Auxiliary Bishop Jozef Wrobel, of the Archdiocese of Lublin, called on Pope Francis to answer the questions posed by the four cardinals.

“It would be just to respond,” he said, adding that “Amoris Laetitia is not well written.”

Meanwhile, Bishop Fragkisko Papamanolis, president of the Greek Bishops’ Conference accused the four cardinals of rejecting papal authority and risking schism. He went so far as to suggest that before the prelates made public their questioning of the Pope they should have “asked to be removed from the list of the College of Cardinals”.

In one of the strongest interventions thus far, however, Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, issued a thinly veiled assault on Amoris Laetitia when, during an interview with French media he dealt with the issue of giving communion to divorced-and-remarried people. 

“The entire Church has always firmly held that one may not receive communion with the knowledge of being in a state of mortal sin, a principle recalled as definitive by John Paul II in his 2003 encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia,” he said, adding, “Not even a Pope can dispense from such a divine law.”


Vatican hosts ‘religious extremism’ seminar

The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue has hosted a colloquium at the Vatican on the issue of religious extremism and violence.

Welcoming the Tehran-based Islamic Culture and Relations Organisation on November 23 to what was the tenth such meeting of the two, the council explored ‘Extremism in the name of religion’ and ‘the contribution of religion to a better world’ among its themes. The meeting culminated in a meeting with Pope Francis at the Pope Paul VI Hall. The Pontiff underlined the importance of interreligious dialogue and praised those who had travelled from Iran to participate in the event.


Meeting on female deacons

A 12-member commission established by Pope Francis to examine the history of female deacons in the Church held its first meeting on November 25. Archbishop Luis Ladaria Ferrer, the secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, chaired two sessions of the inaugural gathering, which had been organised on foot of a request to the Pope from International Union of Superiors General for clarification of the status of female deacons.


Peter’s Pence website launched

The Vatican Secretariat of State has unveiled a new website for ‘Peter’s Pence’, the Pope’s charitable fundraising initiative.

Accessible in English, Italian and Spanish, the site serves as an online portal for those faithful wishing to donate to the works of the scheme while having the opportunity to “reflect on the significance of their acts and offer, also online, their concrete support for the works of mercy, Christian charity, peace, and aid to the Holy See,” according to the Secretariat of State.