405,000 people, 104 bishops sign petition to Pope Francis asking for ‘clarification’ on marriage
July 30, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) - Over 405,000 people, including 104 prelates - cardinals, archbishops, and bishops - have so far signed the “Filial Petition” to His Holiness Pope Francis asking for “a word of clarification” as the “only way to overcome the growing confusion among the faithful” on the issues of marriage, divorce, and homosexual unions.
In a press release, the organizers of the petition said today that “an intervention by the supreme authority is needed in order to counter the creeping advance of the Cultural Revolution promoted by anti-Christian forces, which for decades have sought to undermine people’s moral convictions based on the Gospel and the Natural Law.”
Among the signatories is Cardinal Raymond Burke, who himself personally issued a call widely reported in the media for Pope Francis to clarify the Church’s teachings on sexuality last November.
His call for clarification came after weeks of confusion during the Vatican’s Extraordinary Synod on the Family, where some bishops openly pushed for the Church to allow divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive communion, seemingly with the tacit support of the pope. Others pushed for greater openness of the Church towards homosexuality.
Cardinal Burke said at the time that he has heard from lay people that “there’s really just a growing confusion about what the Church really teaches, and we’re not coming to any clarity."
“And the impression now is given that this will now go out to the dioceses and they will express their opinions and the bishops will come and vote on this. But that isn’t the way Church doctrine is formulated. And that’s not the way Church discipline is formulated. The Church is not a democracy,” Burke said.
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Today's press release states that “the Church always keeps alight the torch of sound doctrine and consistent discipline based on the Lord’s teachings,” a torch that “paradoxically” has the effect of attracting “more and more numerous young people from the most diverse social contexts, who are tired of the noxious consequences of the sexual revolution and wish to start authentic Christian families.”
However, said the organizers of the Filial Appeal, “at the Extraordinary Synod on the Family held in October 2014, the light of that torch, rather than being reinvigorated seemed to falter due to confused and dissonant opinions that emerged inside and outside the synod hall. These theses were immediately taken up and spread by the secularist propaganda machine.”
The group of lay organizations behind the appeal have formed the “Filial Appeal Association.” Beyond the massive petition, the association also aims to spread worldwide the booklet entitled Preferential Option for the Family, authored by three bishops, Most Rev. Aldo di Cillo Pagotto, Most Rev. Robert F. Vasa, and Most Rev. Athanasius Schneider.
It is a user-friendly manual in one hundred questions and answers.
This initiative has also found broad support among ecclesiastical and civil personalities. The work has been translated into several languages and has been distributed to all residential bishops around the world.