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Cardinal Turkson calls for open debate on Amoris Laetitia amid attacks on four Cardinals

Claire Chretien Claire Chretien Follow Claire

IMPORTANT: To respectfully express your support for the 4 cardinals' letter to Pope Francis asking for clarity on Amoris Laetitia, sign the petition. Click here.

ROME, December 7, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Nearly 20 prominent cardinals and bishops have declined to comment on the dubia requesting Pope Francis clarify whether Amoris Laetitia is in line with Catholic moral teaching, Ed Pentin reported in the National Catholic Register Tuesday. Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson, however, told Pentin that he thinks prelates with varying interpretations of the exhortation should discuss it on stage to listen to each other see how they "respond and react to each other."

Turkson, Prefect of the new Vatican Dicastery for promoting Integral Human Development, told Pentin, “For all of these people who’ve said things, written things, each in their own different contexts, a great thing that could happen is have them all on stage."

Turkson is one of ten children and has been involved with pro-life advocacy in Ghana. In an interview with LifeSiteNews following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, he explained how growing up in a big family was a blessing to him. 

However, in 2015, confusion ensued after Turkson suggested to BBC that “birth control” could be used as a solution to perceived overpopulation and said Pope Francis had previously called for “a certain amount of control of birth.”

He then said he regretted using the term "birth control" because he meant spacing births or responsible parenthood.

“When I used the phrase ‘birth control,’ what I had in mind was the Church’s own traditional teaching about responsible parenthood,” Turkson said. “So wherever anyone reads ‘birth control’ in the BBC interview, they should understand it as meaning ‘responsible parenthood.’”

He told Pentin that cardinals and bishops with different views on Amoris Laetitia should get “together, to listen to what each other had to say, and to see: How would they respond and react to each other?”

RELATED: Who are these four cardinals who wrote the ‘dubia’ to the Pope?

Although Turkson spoke with Pentin about the controversy surrounding Amoris Laetitia, which critics worry signal the pope's approval of Communion for those living in relationships the Church considers active adultery, many of his peers did not.

Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Cardinal Francis Arinze, Cardinal Sarah’s predecessor, and Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, all declined to comment.

Cardinal Kevin Farrell, who heads the new Dicastery for Family, Laity and Life, has widely praised Amoris Laetitia as being from the Holy Spirit. He has said it opens the door to Communion for the divorced and "remarried" who have not received an annulment and blasted Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput for his diocesan guidelines upholding the Church's longstanding sacramental discipline. 

Nevertheless, Farrell "declined to restate or clarify [his] perspective," Pentin reported.

Papal confidant Father Anthony Spadaro, SJ also declined to speak with Pentin. However, Spadaro recently gave an in-depth interview to Crux during which he said the pope's response to the dubia could be seen in his letter to Buenos Aires bishops approving their interpretation of Amoris Laetitia, which allows Communion for the divorced and "remarried" in some cases.

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