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Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes

GERMANY, December 12, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes has vocalized his support for the dubia of four cardinals asking for moral clarification on Amoris Laetitia and said he doesn't understand the “indignation” over their request.

Cordes, a retired German cardinal and the former President of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, defended Cardinals Raymond Burke, Joachim Meisner, Walter Brandmüller, and Carlo Caffarra. The formal request they sent to Pope Francis asking him to clarify whether Amoris Laetitia is aligned with Catholic moral teaching went unanswered, so they then shared it with the public. Since then, they have come under fire from other prelates and a Jesuit so close to Pope Francis he is sometimes called the pontiff's “mouthpiece.”  

“With an objective tone, the four cardinals have asked for the removal of doubts about the text [Amoris Laetitia],” Cordes told Austrian Catholic news service “They were met with a disproportionate protest. I was not able to understand this indignation; I also had doubts that these indignant persons were motivated by a desire to find the truth.”

Dr. Maike Hickson, who translated Cordes's comments at The Wanderer, wrote that Cordes made “a helpful reference to Cardinal Gerhard Müller’s own recent statement according to which 'the document may not be interpreted in such a way as if former statements of the Magisterium and of the popes are now invalid.'”

“The Church has never dismissed any central content [of Christ’s teaching and truth],” said Cordes. He noted that Church teaching cannot change, asking, “How can the Church today claim reliability for a certain statement of Faith when another, former statement of Faith has no relevance any more and is considered now to be false?”

Hickson writes that Cordes explained how the Church has addressed the issue of Communion for the divorced and “remarried” through the ages, “naming different examples of the Church’s history (Origenes, St. Basil the Great, Council of Trent, Vatican II).”

“Cordes ends his description of this discussion with reference to the Synod of Bishops on the Family of the year 1980 and Pope John Paul II’s own post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Familiaris Consortio. He then adds with reference to Amoris Laetitia: 'And now, suddenly, there has been supposedly found, after all, a magisterial solution!'”

“The theological foundation of such a permission is not at all compelling. Its formal obligatoriness (a footnote) certainly does not have the status and rank of a Dogma,” he said.

Cordes's voice joins 23 Catholic scholars and pastors who revealed last week their support for the dubia.

Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Kazakhstan has likened the way the four dubia signers have been treated with the Soviet regime.

“The reaction to the dubia is a proof of the climate in which we actually live in the Church right now,” Schneider said. “We live in a climate of threats and of denial of dialogue towards a specific group.”

There has still been no formal response from Pope Francis to the dubia