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Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, archbishop of Vienna, Austria.Patrick Craine / LifeSiteNews

IRELAND, July 18, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna criticized the four Cardinals, one now deceased, for what he calling pressuring Pope Francis to respond to their questions about whether or not his Exhortation Amoris Laetitia conforms to perennial Catholic moral teaching.

“That cardinals, who should be the closest collaborators of the pope, try to force him and put pressure on him to give a public response to their publicised letter is absolutely inconvenient behavior,” he said the journalists last week prior to attending a conference in Ireland where he spoke about marriage and family.

Schönborn said that if the Cardinals “want to have an audience with the pope, then they ask for an audience but they do not publish that they have asked for an audience.”

Last year Cardinals Carlo Caffarra, Walter Brandmüller, Raymond Burke, and Joachim Meisner (now deceased) went public with their questions (dubia) after the Pope failed to give them a response. They had hoped that the Pope answering their five yes-or-no questions would dispel what they called the “uncertainty, confusion, and disorientation among many of the faithful” stemming from the controversial exhortation.

Last month the four released a letter to the Pope in which they unsuccessfully asked him for a private audience to discuss “confusion and disorientation” within the Church as a result of the Exhortation.

The exhortation has been used by various bishops and bishops’ groups, including those in Argentina, Malta, Germany, and Belgium, to issue pastoral guidelines that allow Communion to be given to civilly-divorced-and-remarried Catholics living in adultery. But bishops in Canada and Poland have issued statements based on their reading of the same document that forbids such couples to receive Communion.

Pope Francis has yet to enter into dialogue with the three remaining cardinals.

Schönborn cautioned against those who have “rapid, clear answers” in religion.

“I fear those who have rapid, clear answers in politics and economy and also in religion. Rigorists and laxists have clear and rapid answers, but they fail to look at life. The rigorist avoids the effort of discernment, of looking closely at reality. The laxist lets everything possible go, and there is no discernment. They are the same but opposite,” he told journalists.

“St Gregory the Great said the art of the pastoral accompaniment is the art of discernment. It is an art and it needs training,” he added.

“Most often the topic is reduced to one question – ‘May they [remarried divorcees who did not receive an annulment] receive Communion? Yes or no!’ Pope Francis has said, ‘This is a trap!’ By narrowing this to one question the main purpose of Amoris Laetitia is forgotten: Look closely and discern,” he said.

The Cardinal told participants at the July 13 “Let’s Talk Family: Let’s Be Family” conference in Ireland that an individual’s “conscience” is “most important” in determining “your situation…in [the] presence of God.”

“The last and most important point is…how is your situation in your conscience in [the] presence of God? Nobody can respond to this question than you alone. Is your new marital situation, new union, in your conscience something that you can really offer God and say this is my way with your help. It’s a very difficult and very delicate question,” he said.

The Cardinal said such a teaching on conscience following the Pope’s Exhortation helps individuals “to have a mature way to a new situation.”