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 Patrick Craine / LifeSiteNews

April 25, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Two of the Vatican’s most senior prelates, both known for taking a strong stand for the Church’s tradition at the Synod on the Family, are declining interviews on Pope Francis’ controversial apostolic exhortation.

Vatican reporter Edward Pentin reports that neither Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, nor Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, has commented on Amoris Laetitia or given any media interviews about the document.

Müller and Sarah have repeatedly spoken in the past about the Church’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage and that teaching’s implications for those in second unions whose previous marriages the Church has not declared null. 

LifeSiteNews has also spoken to other cardinals who declined to comment.  Sources close to the Vatican have indicated that some cardinals are reticent to comment out of concern that to do so could negatively affect the institution of the papacy.

In the wake of the exhortation’s release, German Cardinal Walter Kasper, who has spent much of Pope Francis’s papacy advocating for a radical shift in the Church’s official approach to those in unions it considers objectively sinful, celebrated the document.  Kasper said it allows for Holy Communion for remarried divorcees in some cases.

In his first reaction to Amoris Laetitia, Cardinal Raymond Burke, the patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and the former prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, wrote that although the exhortation is “a non-magisterial document,” it must be interpreted through the lens of magisterial Catholic doctrine.  Cardinal Burke has not yet offered his appraisal of the document itself, however.

Over the weekend, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Maria Santissima in Astana, Kazakhstan, became the first bishop to publicly criticize the document. The bishop decried the confusion it generated and asked Church leaders and the laity to call on Pope Francis to clarify that the exhortation must be interpreted in continuity with the Church’s long-held teachings.  Schneider also warned that Amoris Laetitia “can realistically be utilized to legitimize the abuse” of giving Holy Communion to divorced and remarried Catholics.