Vatican claim Pope replied to Dubia is a sensational mystification
The attempt by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith together with Vatican Communication to cushion the blow caused by the publication of the five cardinals’ dubia, conceals the truth: the pope did not really respond and there is much more to say.
If one does not have the grounds, one tries cunning and deception. This is the only way to explain the move made today (2 October) by the newly-appointed Prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Victor Manuel Fernández, who published on the Dicastery's website the first Dubia sent to the Pope by the five cardinals on 10 July and the reply signed by Pope Francis. But the questions and answers are part of a single document that bears the date 25 September. In fact, this date refers to the request that Fernández himself made to the Pope to publish the salient parts of his reply, which dates back to 11 July. This gives the impression that 25 September is in fact the date of the reply.
An effect clearly intended, so much so that the date of 11 July does not appear at the bottom of the Pope's reply. And furthermore, Fernández totally ignores the second request for clarification from the five cardinals, which is dated 21 August and in which it is expressly stated that the Pope's letter of 11 July does not in fact answer their questions at all. And indeed, the cardinals say, "your replies have not resolved the doubts we had raised, but have, if anything, strengthened them".
Moreover, the letter published by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith is not the full letter (here is the Pdf of the full letter) received only by Cardinals Burke and Brandmüller, which also has an introduction and conclusion not included in the document proposed by Cardinal Fernández. In the missing part, in addition to the perceived obvious annoyance at the initiative of the five cardinals, the Pope chastises them by stating that "it is not good to be afraid" of the “questions" and "interrogatives" collected in the process of preparing the Synod. And we know very well how they were collected (see here and here).
In any case, what appears evident is that in order to parry the blow of the Dubia made public this morning, a colossal operation of mystification has been set up in the Vatican to deceive Catholic public opinion and pass off as closed an issue that is instead more open than ever. And all possible Vatican structures have been mobilised to this end.
The dubia presented to the Pope are a perfectly legitimate initiative, which adequately corresponds to the faithful’s act of assent. It is not a question of putting the Pope in difficulty, but of turning to that office which belongs to him alone. And, they should not be considered in terms of immediate success.
Cardinals - Burke, Brandmüller, Sarah, Zen, Sandoval - make public the five doctrinal questions they posed Pope Francis for clarification and to which he did not reply. The themes: the immutability of doctrine, blessing of homosexual couples, nature of the Church, female priesthood, sacrament of reconciliation.
Letter to the Faithful II Five cardinals with 5 dubia II Dubia reformulated