The prelate stressed that they first addressed “the pope, in a very private manner” and “we agreed to publish them to help guide a little the people of goodwill that are in the synod. That was the reason.”
The same day that the cardinals released their new questions seeking clarification, the Vatican published the response that Pope Francis had sent them on July 11 to the originally formulated dubia.
Cardinal Fernández’s criticism
Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, who became prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith on Sept. 11 and was created a cardinal by the pope 19 days later, criticized the dubia signatories.
In an Oct. 2 statement to the Spanish newspaper ABC, Fernández noted: “The pope has already answered them, and now they publish new questions as if the pope were a slave for the errands.”
For Sandoval, these statements are “a slightly ingenuous and exaggerated defense,” because all “cardinals are the pope’s collaborators, the pope’s advisers.”
He insisted that the clarifications were requested “for the sake of the truth and for the good of the Church,” “without denying that he is the pope, who has authority in the Church.”
“It's not that he is our slave, not at all. A dialogue with him is a dialogue about important truths of the faith and morals of the Church,” he noted.
Sandoval assured that, from its writing to its public dissemination, the five cardinals “unanimously, wanted to move forward with this matter of the dubia.”
There have always been discussions in the Catholic Church
Given the concern of Catholics about doctrinal debates in the Church, Sandoval noted that these discussions have existed “always and will continue until the end of the world.”
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For the cardinal, it’s important that every Catholic “adheres with simplicity to the truth of the Gospel, to what is written in the holy Scriptures and the Church has always taught, so as not to be disconcerted.”
“We are not plated machines [made] all the same. We are people of faith, who refer to revelation, which is a great mystery, never completely comprehensible, graspable, understandable. But there are lines that are always very clear, have been very clear in the faith and in the tradition of the Church. That’s what we’re referring to,” he said.
The cardinals’ concern: possible doctrinal deviation in the synod
Sandoval told ACI Prensa that “the concern is that the synod is going to deviate somewhat doctrinally. And that would be something very, very sad, that would be written in the annals of the Church.”
“It would not be the first time. There have been meetings, synods, councils that were half wrong,” he said. “There have been throughout the history of the Church. We are on the path of faith, not of sight, and the intelligence, our understanding of the mystery, is limited like our heads, our abilities.”
However, he stressed that “there are always things in faith that must be accepted as Christ said them, without seeking accommodations,” because “when accommodations are sought for fashions, modern times, and people’s tastes, the truth begins to be falsified.”