The Church After Amoris Laetitia: An Interview With Josef Seifert
Fuchs, Curran, McCormick et al. & the Revisionist Moral Philosophy Threatening the Church
Revisionists, once called dissenters, now dominate moral philosophy and subsequent moral doctrine. Unfortunately now, instead of discerning what fidelity to the will of God would mean, we are head-long along the path to determining what is good and evil. This ‘discernment,’ says Bishop Schneider, was first started by the devil whose discernment with Eve caused the original sin (http://www.johnthebaptistmoora.com/346443107/5099904/posting/amoris-laetitia-discerning-the-will-of-god).
The following is a great article by OnePeter5 on current thought in the Church's moral teaching. Seifart laments over purely teleological ethics that claim that evaluating the moral rightness of an action is drawn from the weighing of the non-moral or pre-moral goods to be gained (telos/end good). I have previously referred to this as proportionalism, lamenting over this as the false ethical position adopted in the exhortation, Amoris Laetitia.
The Church After Amoris Laetitia
In light of Josef Seifert’s recent essay examining some of the dangerous logical consequences of Amoris Laetitia — an essay for which he was dismissed from his teaching position by the Archbishop of Granada — 1P5’s Dr. Maike Hickson reached out to the Austrian philosopher to ask him some additional questions about not just the post-synodal exhortation that has generated so much controversy, but the state of moral teaching and praxis in the Church in its wake.
Maike Hickson (MH): A year ago, in August of 2016 – after the publication of Amoris Laetitia – you published an essay in which you politely criticized this papal document and asked the pope to make corrections of some wrong or even sometimes “objectively heretical statements.” What is the reason why you now once more raise your voice with a new essay on this topic of Amoris Laetitia?
Josef Seifert (JS): After publishing my article, a large number of events happened: my good friend Rocco Buttiglione and my former student Rodrigo Guerra defended Amoris Laetitia (AL) fiercely against all my objections and I wrote many e-mails and an unpublished response to them. A group of theologians and philosophers charged Pope Francis twice for a large series of heresies and other errors they attributed to AL, and they went into detail to prove the grounds for their asking Pope Francis to retract these errors. I was asked to sign their letter but did not for a variety of reasons. The archbishop of Granada suspended me from teaching his seminarians because of my first article. The archbishop of Vaduz, Principality Liechtenstein, congratulated me on this article and thanked me for the tremendous service to the Church he saw in it. The four Cardinals expressed their (still unanswered) dubia. Thus, I had plenty of new reasons to think about AL and about my previous article that I had sent first as a personal (never answered or even recognized) letter to Pope Francis.
However, the immediate cause of my second article was my reading about a commission convened by Pope Francis, allegedly to revise Humanae Vitae (HV) and to adapt it to AL. Moreover, I wrote to Professor Buttiglione, a dear friend who took an extremely different view of AL from mine, that I feared that also HV and Evangelium Vitae would fall prey to the same line of thought expressed in AL. He increased my fear and sense of alarm over this, by answering that of course to Humanae Vitae and Evangelium Vitae the same discernment and the same principles would have to be applied that are stated in AL about marriage matters. This shook me up profoundly. (I had written many articles to defend also philosophically Humanae Vitae and Veritatis Splendor, and the thought that all these true doctrines would be revoked, relativized, or undermined by simply applying the logic to the quoted remark of AL, troubled me deeply).
For all these reasons, I meditated anew the same questions and thought to have found a much bigger cause of concern than the ones I had expressed in my previous article.
Thus, I decided to write a new and incomparably shorter article that was restricted just to one single affirmation in AL that I had not sufficiently considered in my first article. This single statement shocked me deeply because it seemed to prove that the changes of moral teaching in AL potentially went much, much farther than anyone in the current debate (including the Pope and myself) had ever considered, all being fixated, so to speak, on the admission of unrepentant adulterers and homosexuals to the sacraments. I had, so to speak, a vision of an immense threat hidden in this text, for the entire moral teaching of the Church. Thus, it seemed to me my strict obligation, in order to serve the Pope and the Church well, to put forward the weighty question my new article poses, without answering it, but to put it in such a clear way that the Pope and any other reader could answer it correctly themselves. I felt obliged to write this, in order to avert a moral-theological destructive atomic bomb that could make the whole moral teaching of the Church crumble. Thus, I had the intention, by posing this question with the greatest possible clarity, to provide an aid to the Magisterium of Pope Francis to prevent such a damage.
Because the logical and potential consequences of this one affirmation that I saw in my inner vision were so terrible, and because I felt it at the same time improper to charge the Pope with a grave error (which was one of my reasons to abstain from giving my signature to the formal charge of heresies of the Pope two groups of theologians had asked me to sign), and because only the Pope himself, and possibly the College of Cardinals, or a Council, could correct this statement, and avoid drawing in praxis its logical consequences, I formulated my article as one major question, and as a series of questions that follow from pure logic applied to the mentioned affirmation and question.
MH: Would you present here for our readers your main concern with Amoris Laetitia?
JS: My main concern is expounded in my second article. If our conscience can know (not only falsely opine) that God wants us to commit in a certain situation intrinsically bad, adulterous or homosexual acts, then pure logic must draw the consequences that the same applies to contraception (HV), to abortion, and to all other acts which the Church and the divine commandments excluded “absolutely”. This is exactly the position and these are exactly the consequences of the so-called “purely teleological ethics” which the Jesuit theologian Josef Fuchs and many others defended years ago, before and after Humanae Vitae, and which I investigated and sought to refute in a large quantity of articles and a big unpublished German book. Pope John Paul II condemned clearly and definitively this error of Fuchs and Co. and did so solemnly in Veritatis Splendor and in Evangelium Vitae, thus bringing clarity to the perennial moral teaching of the Gospels and of the Church. In the latter Encyclical, Pope John Paul II invokes the authority of St. Peter (EV 68) and declares (I believe, dogmatically) that from the first moment of conception, each child deserves the full respect of a person and hence abortion is always and intrinsically a gravely immoral act.
Thus, I felt a profound personal suffering. For my impression was that now the whole edifice of the absolute ethics (already taught before Christ by Socrates and Cicero) of the Old and New Testament and of the Church could start crumbling down by merely applying logic to this statement.
Before, in my first article, I also expressed many other concerns:
That the whole distinction by discernment between good and bad adulterers, where the former, even if unrepentant, could be admitted to the sacraments, whereas only the latter would have to be excluded, presents a wholly impossible task of discernment to a priest between good and bad grave sinners (as the Polish Bishops’ Conference very well stated);
The long text of AL proposes admitting couples to the sacraments, who objectively speaking live in grave sin, but does not mention with a single word the danger of blasphemy and sacrilege, against which the Apostle Paul warns us in the strongest terms, saying that we risk “eating and drinking the divine judgment upon us” if we receive Holy Communion in a state of grave sin.
AL declares that “no one (including no adulterer) will be condemned forever” which seems to deny hell and directly stands in conflict to the words of St. Paul that no unrepentant adulterer will go to heaven and thus all will be condemned forever if they do not convert.
That some Christians do not have the strength to fulfill the divine commandments (with the help of the sacraments and God’s grace), which was one of Luther’s main heresies condemned by the Council of Trent.
I still hold all of these and other concerns about AL, but I wanted a) to formulate in the second article just one point that seems to me the real “crux” of AL, and b) to put some logical questions to the Pope and other readers, of which I do not see how they could be answered in the negative. However, if they are answered affirmatively, this one assertion of AL would lead, by pure logic, to the destruction of the whole moral teaching of the Church and thus should be revoked, which I implore (conditionally) the Pope to do.
I thus conditionally pleaded with the Pope in all charity and love, if he, too, must answer the logical questions I pose with a resounding “Yes”, to revoke at least this one sentence of AL and not to make it the grounds of a moral-theological reform of the Church. For certainly, the Pope will not maintain an affirmation, if it gives rise, by his own affirmative answer to the question of my article, to the destruction of the rock of Catholic moral teaching, and of natural ethics as well (as taught by Socrates and Cicero).
MH: Do you yourself think that there is still any doubt left as to whether Pope Francis intends to allow some “remarried” divorcees access to the Sacraments? What are for you the strongest arguments for your position?
JS: No doubts about that! Also highly praised defenders of AL, such as Rocco Buttiglione, Cardinal Blasé Cupich and Cardinal Christoph Schönborn see this clearly and praise AL for it. Unlike me, and many others, however, they take this admission to the sacraments of unrepentant sinners to be a fruit of mercy and of a legitimate pastoral consideration of Pope Francis. Moreover, they believe that AL, admitting unrepentant adulterers, homosexuals and other couples in “irregular situations” to the sacraments, does not contradict Veritatis Splendor, nor Familaris Consortio 84 that excludes this by referring to the Gospel. Their reasoning runs like this: if these couples were able to understand that what they are doing is gravely wrong, and had the strength of free will Pope John Paul II assumes, they could not be admitted to the sacraments, as the holy Pope taught. But if these sinners do not fulfill these two necessary subjective conditions of a mortal sin (and Buttiglione, with the Pope, thinks that possibly most contemporary men and women lack one or both of these conditions of mortal sin), they should be admitted to the sacraments, as Pope Francis teaches in AL. Thus, according to this interpretation, both Popes are right and do not contradict themselves. From this you see that also these defenders of AL agree that AL in fact propose to admit unrepentant adulterers and other sinners, after due discernment, to the sacraments. (The Philippine bishops, in their first response to AL, issued an invitation to the sacraments addressed to all such couples, without discernment and immediately. In addition, Cardinal Schönborn and Father Antonio Spadaro, S.J. went as far as to say that AL eliminated any distinction between regular and irregular couples.)
Besides, the Pope’s own praise of the Buenos Aires Bishops, to the effect that their interpretation of AL, to admit unrepentant adulterers and other couples, after discernment, to the sacraments, was “the only correct reading of AL”, confirms this. The same applies to his praise of the far more liberal interpretation of AL by the bishops of Malta that is based on presuppositions of radical situation ethics. These and many other words and acts of Pope Francis prove that your question has to be responded to affirmatively, even though Cardinal Gerhard Müller or Mons. Livio Levina adopted the interpretation that AL had not changed the sacramental discipline.
Yet at the same time, the Pope accepted the position of the Polish Bishops’ Conference and of the Alberta Bishops’ Conference in Canada who continue following Familiaris Consortio and refuse any change of sacramental discipline. Pope Francis accepted the Polish bishops’ unanimous rejection of changing the rules FC had expounded, by claiming (as AL itself states) that the Magisterium must not have one single teaching on such matters and could tolerate cultural and national diversity of “moral traditions”. There is a widespread concern in the Church that this adds a historical and cultural relativism to the other problems of AL. For it certainly seems unacceptable that what in Poland constitutes a grave sin, and excludes the unrepentant sinner from Holy Communion and confession, has neither one of these effects, when the adulterer crosses the German Border and goes to Communion and confession in Germany, one mile west of the former Polish priest, who refuses to grant him absolution and admit him to Holy Communion.
MH: In your 2016 essay, you said that Amoris Laetitia could cause “an avalanche of very destructive consequences for the Church and for souls.” One year later, do you see such destructive consequences already now developing?
JS: If only one or some, let alone most, of the many couples in “irregular situations,” who now receive the sacraments commit a sacrilege and a serious sin, obviously destructive spiritual consequences of AL happen, and the words of Christ to a “vidente” (a seer) in Granada are true, according to which these “gravely erroneous teachings” (“falsísimas doctrinas”) lead many souls the way to hell.
Moreover, grave harm to souls is caused, if now some seminarians do not want to become priests, because they see themselves forced, against their conscience, to give the sacraments to remarried Catholics whose marriage has not been declared null by the Church. They are told the doors of the seminary stand wide open. If they do not want to accept this, they should leave. Thus many of the best future priests leave and will not do their wholesome work for souls. Priests are encouraged or even commanded by their bishops to act against their own conscience, some are threatened to be dismissed from their parishes, if they follow their conscience. Bishops oppress priests who abide by the tradition of the Church and by the teaching expressed in Familiaris Consortio by Pope John Paul II. Some priests, who live against the Church’s teachings feel encouraged to receive the sacraments and celebrate mass, professing a lack of free will to abstain from homosexual acts or sexual relations with women. A huge confusion reigns: many lose their faith in the Church that they experienced as the rock of truth, and now see it as a Babel of confusion, etc.
MH: In your new 2017 essay, you wonder whether Amoris Laetitia “affirm[s] clearly that these intrinsically disordered and objectively gravely sinful acts […] can be permitted, or can even objectively be commanded, by God” and you say that, if this is the case, we are facing a “moral theological atomic bomb.” Could you explain this expression?
JS: If this is truly so, what AL says in the text I analyze, that is, if God in some cases, or only one case, can want us, in our concrete situation, to commit an intrinsically wrong act, such as homosexual acts or adultery, there is no logically sound reason not to apply this to contraception, abortion, blood-revenge, lies, deceits, etc. For you can certainly not fail to apply the same principles that hold true for one kind of intrinsically bad acts, to any intrinsically wrong acts. You may also simply deny that this act, or any human act, is intrinsically disordered and bad.
However, the whole law and the prophets, the complete moral teaching of the Church, hinges on the recognition of many such acts that must not be committed ever and nowhere. Therefore, if one draws a purely logical consequence of this affirmation of AL, this statement draws an avalanche of consequences and is a spiritual atomic bomb that destroys the marvelous edifice of the Catholic Moral Teaching (and of natural ethics).
MH: In this context of the “intrinsically disordered and objectively gravely sinful acts,” you yourself explicitly mention not only the divorced and “remarried” couples, but also homosexual unions. Do you think that the term “irregular couples” as used by Amoris Laetitia is meant to be more inclusively applied also to homosexual couples?
JS: It clearly does, and many other statements of the Pope and of Bishops’ Conferences, such as the Philippine ones, make it clear.
MH: In the context of absolute moral laws that now seem to be undermined in this current discussion, you yourself bring up the topic of Humanae Vitae and a possible future re-examination of its teaching on contraception. Do you yourself have concrete information about this newly formed Vatican commission? Are some of its members for you already an indicator of the direction of the commission’s work?
JS: There have appeared a great number of articles and blogs, from reliable and well-informed sources, that have confirmed this notice. However, even without trusting these, pure logic tells us: If some unrepentant adulterers can be admitted to the sacraments and if their adultery can even “be what God wants them to do in the complexity of their situation”, how can you exclude, by the same reasoning, that some couples, who practice contraception, should just as well be admitted to the sacraments? Or that even God, in the complexity of their concrete situation, wills them to use contraception and sterilization, instead of temporary abstinence, because this abstinence can lead a husband or wife to commit worse sins?
MH: You have added to your new essay that you yourself had been “elected by Saint Pope John Paul II as an ordinary (life-long) member of the Pontifical Academy for Life (a charge that ended with the dismissal of all PAV members by Pope Francis in 2016, and the failure to be re-elected as member of a profoundly changed PAV in 2017.)” Could you explain to us these words? Does this mean that you have been removed from the PAV in spite of the fact that you had been designated (by John Paul II) as a lifetime member of PAV?
JS: According to the statutes of PAV, all ordinary members were life-long members. Pope Francis has first changed the constitution of PAV. Thus, now the maximal period of your term as an ordinary member in the PAV is five years. Secondly, Pope Francis has dismissed all current members of PAV and canceled the General Assembly Meeting in 2016 as scheduled before. Third, he has named some new and reinstated some old members of PAV, including some very fine ones. I happen to be among the dismissed and not reinstated ones.
MH: Do you have an idea why you have been removed from the PAV?
JS: As all PAV members have been removed, as mentioned, it is clear why I have been removed. Why I have not been reinstated, only the Pope could answer with certainty, but you might speculate, if you wish, about this. Perhaps: because of my 2016 article on AL? Possibly because I have criticized repeatedly and publicly two former Presidents of PAV (under Pope Benedict) and asked the pope to replace them (which he did in one case)? Because I have written for several PAV meetings and 2 Meetings of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (that invited me as an expert on the question), and for two 2 years in a commission about Brain Death (BD) definitions convoked by Cardinal Elio Sgreccia, lengthy criticisms of the “brain-death-definitions”? Perhaps because I have sent these criticisms to two previous Popes (John Paul II and Benedict XVI) in the (unfulfilled) hope that the Church would clearly reject BD definitions and BD criteria as invalid? Perhaps because I publicly criticized Monsignor Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo’ s communication, sent to a Medical World Congress on Coma and Death in Cuba, that identifying “brain death” with human death was sort of “dogma of the Catholic Church” and adherence to it obligatory, and his false claim that the acceptance of this criterion was now “official Catholic Teaching”? Perhaps also because I have, during this same International Medical Congress on Coma and Death, and two earlier ones, delivered keynote addresses that criticized identifying “brain death” with human death? Perhaps because I informed the audience of the last mentioned congress that, and why, Pope John Paul II had, after an address of his to transplantation surgeons in which he seemed to support this identification of “brain death” with human death, expressed most serious doubts regarding this identification of human death with “brain death”? Or because I told publicly that Pope John Paul II had personally convened a Symposium on this topic in the Pontifical Academy of Science, in which the large majority of medical doctors, philosophers, jurists, anesthetists, etc. rejected this identification? Perhaps because I revealed to those present that the promised (and already proofread) text of the acts of this symposium had been suppressed, seemingly by Mons. Sánchez Sorondo himself and that PAS convened another symposium, in which only a (very remarkable) minority rejected the identification of human death with “brain death”.
MH: You say that the new PAV, as it has been re-arranged since the end of 2016, is “profoundly changed.” Could you explain to us howso? What are the changes that you see happening in the new PAV?
JS: In the first place, I do not want to idolize the old PAV founded by Saint John Paul II. After the presidency of the saintly medical doctor Jerome Lejeune, for whom a process of beatification is underway (and who discovered the cause of Down Syndrome and fought fiercely for the life of each of the children affected by this syndrome, whom many doctors and parents murder when they now know their genetic infirmity), and who died of cancer some months after his nomination as president, we had two other presidents. The first of these was Professor Juan de Dios Vial, Rector of the Pontifical University of Chile, assisted by the, generally speaking, excellent Vice President Monsignor (now Cardinal) Elio Sgreccia, who became later an equally sound and competent President of PAV (even though some of the members, including myself, were critical of the way in which he conducted some issues, for example, the brain death debate). Even then in its golden times, the PAV had a number of disputes, for example over the question whether the so-called “brain death” is actually human death, and those who denied this, as Professors Allan Shewmon, Wolfgang Waldstein, Alejandro Serani, myself, etc. were increasingly marginalized. Then we had two Presidents of PAV who have made declarations contrary to ethical truth and Church Teaching. (The first, [Archbishop] Fisichella, defended the legitimacy and mercifulness of some abortions), the second one organized, for example, a Congress of PAV in which, of seven invited speakers on infertility treatment, six propagated methods directly opposed to Church Teaching. These and other events raised a well-deserved opposition from some members. In my opinion, and in the opinion of many, this blatantly contradicted the goals of the Pontifical Academy for Life and the Pro-Life Oath each member had to take, as well and above all, the Teaching of the Church. I wrote two open letters about the intolerable situation the “old PAV” was passing through at that time. Thus, I do not glorify the “Old PAV” nor deny that a sound reform of the “Old PAV” might have been most laudable.
However, the profound changes that occurred now seem to go much further and in the opposite direction. On the one hand, on the administrative level, Pope Francis has changed the constitution, as I mentioned, and thus eliminated the firm core of members unconditionally committed to life that Pope John Paul II chose, creating a flexible changing society that has lost its identity that at least some enduring and committed members had given the PAV. Most importantly, the new Statutes eliminated the Pro-Life Oath we had to take in the old PAV. Some openly anti-life members have been named. The new President and Bishop Mons. Vincenzo Paglia has ordered, before his election, Frescos in his Cathedral in Italy, which show him and many other people naked, engaged in homosexual and other sins, and drawn by a Jesus, who bears the features of a prominent local homosexual barber, in a large net to heaven, all the while they continue to commit the same sins in their net. The great painter Bosch had painted the same sins that were glorified in this fresco in his famous paintings of hell. Bishop Paglia also heads the John Paul II Institute where great pressure is now being exerted on Professors not to support the moral and disciplinary sacramental teachings of Familiaris Consortio but those of AL.
MH: Are you yourself concerned about some of the new members of the PAV, such as Professor Nigel Biggar, Father Maurizio Chiodi, Father Carlo Casalone, S.J., or Father Alain Thomasset, S.J., some of whom either actively defend abortion or the use of contraception? (Here a link: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/respected-u.s.-pro-lifers-prominent-among-latest-pontifical-academy-for-lif).
JS: Of course, I am. We had some such members before, for example, an Austrian who promoted the “family of your dreams” (die Wunschfamilie) whose realization in his center included IVF (in-vitro fertilization), selection of fertilized eggs according to sex or health, eliminations of “deficient” or “undesired” children and hence early abortions. However, these members have been asked to resign. Now they seem to be directly nominated by the Vatican. This means a profound change of vision of the PAV from the original one.
MH: In light of the previous discussion about Amoris Laetitia – and the many faithful attempts to defending the traditional moral teaching of the Catholic Church – do you see parallels to the now possibly developing re-interpretation of Humanae Vitae and its outcome?
JS: I am convinced that pure logic dictates that, if Pope Francis does not revoke the teaching I analyze in my latest article, and if he does not answer the dubia of the Cardinals, to the clear effect that there are intrinsically evil acts, and that these acts are never justified in any situation, Humanae Vitae will be interpreted as an ideal that cannot be demanded from everybody; and that, after discernment, those who practice contraception (with or without abortive effects), can be admitted to the sacraments and that God himself, in some difficult situations, wants them to use contraception. This would follow from any denial of intrinsically evil acts. And such a denial is certainly suggested by the passage that I analyze in my last article. Thus, I hope ardently that the Pope, if he answers the question my article poses, in the affirmative, will retract this affirmation of AL and thereby prevent the overthrow of Humanae Vitae.
MH: Father John A. Hardon, S.J. (d. 30 Dec. 2000), the well-known U.S. American dogmatician, used to stress that most of the Church’s moral teaching actually was infallibly taught by the universal ordinary Magisterium, e.g., without being taught ex cathedra. Do you yourself consider the strict prohibition of the use of any form of contraception (many forms of which are abortifacients) as being part of the infallible teaching of the Church? Or would Pope Francis be permitted to allow exceptions with regard to this teachings?
JS: I see it certainly as part of the infallible teaching of the Church (though not expressed in a dogma). Moreover, I believe that its ethical truth can also be known by pure reason and I have written many papers in the defense of philosophical proofs and evidences of its truth.
MH: When taking your own 2017 essay, together with the upcoming discussion about Humanae Vitae, do you see a realistic danger that the undermining of absolute moral laws might lead to the Church’s official condoning of abortion and contraception?
JS: I think the tremendous gift of the infallibility of the Church forbade that Pope Paul VI, who was inclined to prefer the majority opinion (“pro contraception”) in the commission he had convened, did so, and thus he wrote Humanae Vitae in support of the TRUE opinion of the minority. Moreover, I think this same infallibility can never allow that the Catholic Church will follow the Anglican Lambeth Conference message that changed the prohibition of contraception in the Protestant churches, a prohibition formerly universally accepted by all Christian churches.
Nevertheless, I do not believe it to be impossible that an infallible teaching of the Church be denied FALLIBLY by a Council or even by a Pope, which happened some times in the History of the Church. For example, Pope John XXII taught a very serious heresy which he himself revoked on his deathbed in writing a Bull condemning his own teaching, and his successor condemned it as heresy. Pope Liberius signed a Semi-Arian declaration which was somewhat deviating from the central Christian dogma of the true divinity of Christ and St. Athanasius, who defended the truth fiercely, was several times excommunicated for defending the truth. A council burned the entire writings of another heretical Pope Honorius and he was excommunicated posthumously. Thus, sometimes, happily very rarely – and never when the Pope speaks infallibly, declaring a dogma – a pope can commit grave errors or even heresies. In my latest article, I do not criticize or “attack” the pope, nor charge him with heresy, but only ask some questions. One should never forget, however, that criticizing a non-fallible statement or opinion of the pope is in no way always wrong or damaging the Church. The first holy pope, Saint Peter, was publicly rebuked and criticized by Saint Paul in a council, and St. Thomas gave a wonderful defense of this. Christ himself, just after he had named St. Peter as the first pope, and the Rock, on which the Church was built, even called him “Satan” and said to him “Get away from me, Satan,” and charged him with wanting to impose his purely human thought on God’s thought that included the mystery of the passion and death of Jesus Christ.
MH: Cardinal Walter Brandmueller recently publicly discussed the aspect of a papal profession of faith, which has often been undertaken in times of crisis of the Church. Would you tell us your own thoughts on whether in our current situation, such a papal profession of faith would be helpful?
JS: I believe, if the Pope would publically recite the true and full Creed of the Catholic Church, it would be most helpful to bring clarity and truth into an apparently hopelessly confused and confusing situation, but of course, probably only a Council could demand this from a Pope, or he would have to recognize this himself as being most useful.
MH: The dubia cardinals repeatedly receive harsh criticism from other cardinals, such as Cardinal Rodrigez (https://onepeterfive.com/top-papal-adviser-insults-the-four-dubia-cardinals/) and Cardinal Schönborn (https://onepeterfive.com/cardinal-schonborn-dubia-questions-can-answered-yes/). Do you see such rebukes as being justified, or what would be your own personal response to these high-ranking reactions to the dubia?
JS: I think the four dubia Cardinals (three of whom I consider friends and one of whom is my close friend since 37 years) have acted according to their conscience, with great restraint and respect for the Pope, and with full justification. I think that the critique of them for their dubia is profoundly mistaken, and that, even worse, maligning these wonderful men of the Church is a great sin. In addition, I believe that they ought to be joined by the whole College of Cardinals. In my view, all other Cardinals, bishops, and all Catholics should support the four (now three living) Cardinals and ask the Pope, together with the dubia Cardinals, to give a final clear and unambiguous answer to these dubia, an answer that might restore clarity and truth, and dispel the immense confusion that reigns now and which nobody who has eyes to see and a mind to think, can deny. Not the dubia, but not answering them in the truth and with unambiguous clarity, sows distrust in the Pope and confusion.