The four cardinals have never been alone with their “dubia.” Proof of this comes from what happened in Rome on April 22 in an auditorium of the Hotel Columbus, a short walk from Saint Peter’s Square, where six renowned lay scholars came together from as many countries of the world to give voice to an appeal that is being raised from a large part of the “people of God” so that clarity may be brought to the confusion raised by “Amoris Laetitia.”
Anna M. Silvas came from Australia, Claudio Pierantoni from Chile, Jürgen Liminski from Germany, Douglas Farrow from Canada, Jean Paul Messina from Cameroon, Thibaud Collin from France. And one after the other, over the span of one day took stock of the crisis that the document of Pope Francis has produced in the Church, one year after its publication.
Settimo Cielo offers its readers the complete texts of the six presentations, in the languages in which they were delivered. But it calls special attention to the one by Claudio Pierantoni, a scholar of patristics and professor of medieval philosophy at the Universidad de Chile, in Santiago, an abridgment of which is provided below.
Pierantoni brings up again the cases of two popes who fell into error during the first Christian centuries, the one condemned “post mortem” by an ecumenical council and the other induced to correct himself during his lifetime.
But also today - he argues - there is a pope who is “victim,” although “hardly aware of it,” of a widespread tendency to error that undermines the foundations of the Church’s faith. And he too is in need of a charitable correction that may bring splendor back to the truth.
Pierantoni is not the only one among the six to have recalled the lessons of the past, ancient and recent.
Thibaud Collin, a professor of moral philosophy and politics at the Collège Stanislas in Paris, recalled for example the opposition of numerous theologians and entire episcopates to the encyclical of Paul VI “Humanae Vitae,” which was downgraded to purely “ideal” and thereby made inoperative. And he showed how this deleterious “pastoral” logic has come back into vogue with “Amoris Laetitia,” concerning indissoluble marriage and soon also concerning homosexual amours.
Anna M. Silvas, an Australian of the Eastern rite, a scholar of the Fathers of the Church, and a professor at the University of New England, instead emphasized the danger that the Catholic Church might also go down the road already traveled centuries ago by the Protestants and Orthodox toward divorce and remarriage: just when - she surprisingly added - the Coptic Church is returning to the indissolubility of Christian marriage, without exception.
On a response from Pope Francis to the “dubia,” as also on the possibility of a “correction” from him, Anna M. Silvas expressed skepticism. She instead proposes a “Benedict option” for the current post-Christian era, inspired by the monasticism at the collapse of the ancient era, a humble and communal “dwelling” with Jesus and the Father “Jn 14:23) in the faithful expectation, made up of prayer and work, that the tempest shaking the world and the Church today may cease.
Six voices, six different interpretations. All profound and nourished by “caritas in veritate.” Who knows if Pope Francis may at least listen to them.