Six bishops, three of them cardinals, have signed a statement reaffirming the Church’s teachings on marriage and morality.
The Declaration of Fidelity to the Church’s Unchangeable Teaching on Marriage and to Her Uninterrupted Discipline has gathered over 4,000 signatures worldwide since its launch last week.
The signatories say they are resolved “to remain faithful to the
Church’s unchangeable teachings on morals and on the Sacraments of
Marriage, Reconciliation and the Eucharist, and to Her timeless and
enduring discipline regarding those sacraments.”
They say they have been moved to make the appeal by “widespread”
errors about marriage and the family – “particularly after the
Extraordinary and Ordinary Synods on the family and the publication of
Among other teachings, the statement affirms that the Eucharist
cannot be received by divorced and remarried people unless they are
living as brother and sister: a teaching articulated in modern documents
such as St John Paul II’s Familiaris Consortio and Benedict XVI’s
Sacramentum Caritatis. John Paul said that, in this, the Church was
“reaffirming” what it had always taught.
Cardinals Carlo Caffarra, Raymond Burke, and Jãnis Pujats have signed
the statement. So has Bishop Athanasius Schneider, auxiliary bishop of
Astana, who has previously called
for Catholics to affirm truths which could be undermined by some
interpretations of Amoris Laetitia; Bishop Andreas Laun, auxiliary
bishop of Salzburg; and Bishop Juan Rodolfo Laise, bishop emeritus of
The signatories also include Fr Giovanni Scalese, leader of Catholics
in Afghanistan; Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, the former president of the
Vatican Bank; the philosopher Josef Seifert, author of a detailed reading
of Amoris Laetitia which critiques interpretations at odds with
Catholic moral teaching; and several other prominent Catholic figures.
British signatories include the political philosopher John Laughland;
John Smeaton, chief executive of the Society for the Protection of
Unborn Children; and Dr Joseph Shaw, who is also the spokesman for the
45 priests and theologians who have asked for clarification of Amoris Laetitia.
According to the website Lifesitenews, some of the 45 signatories have been punished or put under pressure by their employers and bishops.
The filial appeal does not quote from or directly address Amoris
Laetitia. Instead, it affirms Church teachings which the signatories
believe have been called into question during recent “confusion” in the
The full text, which
is around 14,000 words long and quotes from magisterial documents,
affirms traditional teachings. These are summarised in a concise version
of the declaration. It affirms that all sexual relationships outside a
valid marriage “gravely contradict the will of God”; that “Irregular
unions cannot be recommended as a prudent and gradual fulfilment of the
divine law”; and that those who are remarried after divorce should
separate if possible, and if not should undertake to live in complete
On communion for the remarried, it states: “No responsible
discernment can sustain that admission to the Eucharist is permitted to
divorcees that are ‘remarried’ civilly and live openly more uxorio,
under the claim that, due to diminished responsibility, no grave fault
exists, because their outward state of life objectively contradicts the
indissoluble character of Christian marriage.”