Cardinal Napier defends Francis’ silence on the four Cardinals’ dubia
December 1, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- Prominent South African Cardinal Wilfrid Napier took to Twitter this week to defend Pope Francis’ decision to remain silent on the questions posed by four Cardinals about whether or not Amoris Laetitia conforms to Catholic teaching on marriage, the sacraments, and conscience.
Napier, who has been an outspoken defender of the Church’s perennial teaching on marriage, sexuality, and the sacraments, has used his Twitter account in the past months to quote passages of the pope’s controversial exhortation, which was published in April.
But when he tweeted an Amoris quote on Tuesday dealing with the damage in families caused by broken relationships, one Twitter user responded by pointing out the damage caused among Catholics by ambiguity in the Pope’s exhortation:
@CardinalNapier Cardinal Napier, children are bearing the burden right now of not having a clear teacher of the Faith in our Holy Father.— Mechagodzilla79 (@Mechagodzilla75) November 29, 2016
Then, in a series of responses, Napier suggested that Catholics who “analyses [sic] negatively” the pope, do so “without checking what Pope actually said.” He also suggested that Pope Francis in not responding to the dubia was following the example of Christ, who sometimes refused to answer questions from interlocutors.
But, when a different Twitter user chimed in with the Pope’s statement to the Argentine bishops that there was “no other interpretation” of Amoris Laetitia than to admit divorced and remarried Catholics to Holy Communion in some cases, Napier did not respond further.
Last month four Cardinals made public their five yes-or-no questions (Dubia or ‘doubts’) to Pope Francis after he failed to issue a response in private. They had hoped that an answer to their questions would dispel what they called the “uncertainty, confusion, and disorientation among many of the faithful” stemming from the exhortation.
As a result of the confusion caused by the exhortation, the Cardinals specifically asked the pope: 1) whether adulterers can receive Holy Communion; 2) whether there are absolute moral norms that must be followed “without exceptions;” 3) if habitual adultery is an “objective situation of grave habitual sin;” 4) whether an intrinsically evil act can be turned into a “‘subjectively’ good” act based on “circumstances or intentions;” and 5) if, based on “conscience,” one can act contrary to known “absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts.”
The Cardinals concerns are not without merit. Last month San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy used the exhortation as a justification to call on priests of his diocese to embrace "LGBT families" and to allow divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion in certain cases.